FERS Disability Retirement: The Garden of One’s Mind

The metaphor has been used often enough; whether it enhances or enlightens one’s knowledge of one’s self is of dubious prospects.  The physical, objective entity identified as a “garden” is simple enough in being defined: it must include some plants and soil; perhaps a few rocks or boulders to enhance the natural contours of the landscape; and a person who “tends” to the garden — i.e., a “gardener”.

Can there be wild gardens without a gardener?  In other words, can you walk through a forest and come upon a clearing where there are flowers and various plant lives, and declare, “Oh, what a beautiful garden!”?  Similarly, can a person who lives in an apartment who has a collection of potted plants have the “right” to say to someone, “You should come and admire my garden sometime.”?

Purists may object to the application of the term “garden” to either of those described scenes, but a looser definition is still widely accepted in this modern age where malleability of language is a given.  Then, of course, there is the “stretching” of language’s boundaries by applying the metaphor of a “Garden of one’s Mind”.

What can it mean?  It often refers to the state of one’s mind: Of whether one has allowed for too much neglect and has failed to “prune” the overgrowth or let the weeds overtake; of failing to replenish the soil or allowed by disease and decay to overshadow.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the concept encapsulated in the metaphor of the garden is appropriate.

For, like the untended garden, the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition must apply the same principles as the gardener who must begin to prune and replenish: decisions about the next steps, of what to cut out or whether one can leave things as they are; these are all contained in the metaphor within the Garden of One’s Mind, and it may be a first step to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law before making important decisions like career changes and leaving the Federal government.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire