Steven has done an amazing job with our yard the past couple weeks. This flower bed in particular has gone from weed-infested with mossy tree stump to weeded, pruned, and mulched. I can't wait for the crepe myrtles to bloom and I just know that he's going to save that special rosebush! He salvaged St. Francis from the pit...even though the bottom of the statue is still broken, he can now stand in the new mulch with stones holding him down. The rotting tree stump was evacuated, which I know involved a rope, an ax, and Steven's truck!
I'm very impressed with my husband.
I started this season of Lent with a hopeful optimism, excited about the ways that Christ might be asking me to grow. I was looking forward to the sacrifices, fasting, and deepened prayer life. As with most seasons in my life, I am always surprised by just how different my own plans are from the ultimate will of God.
Suffice it to say that our little family has been weeded, pruned, and rained on, and a new layer of mulch is being laid. Just like the broken statue, the image of Our Lord had fallen out of our sight for a time and needed help to come back to the center of our garden. There are items in our flower beds that needed transplanting. We know with faith that the flowers will bloom again, but the pruned branches are so scratchy and unsightly. Just as this flower bed, we are laid bare in humility and weakness.
But even in looking at that bare flower bed, I know the beauty is coming. I hear the birds singing in the trees; I see one sitting up under our porch. The squirrels scurry up and down the trees and the dog lays in peace under the warm glow of the sun. Sometimes a bright-colored butterfly flutters through my sight. The flowers aren't quite blooming in our yard yet, oh but the azaleas in the yards of others are amazing!
Yesterday I walked back and forth in my sister-in-law's yard, holding my sweet tired baby and feeling the fresh grass beneath my feet. The wind rustled my hair and the birds were singing a sweet song to God. The squirrels ran along the fences and the children played in the distance. Hope.
There is a hope that is just around the corner, a celebration that is just outside our view, a flowering that is so beautiful that we are not able to see it yet. A few nights ago our neighbors were having a party. Late into the night we heard talking and laughing, games and fun. I wanted to be laughing with them. Oh, how I am wishing we had some huge azalea bushes in our yard...colorful and beautiful...and blooming...
We long to be in that place. The celebration. The blooming. But Lent isn't over yet. In fact, we're just past the halfway mark. The road to Calvary is long and hard, the wounds are deep and the Resurrection is just so far away. We might have made it out of Gethsemane, but the road is still difficult and we rely on Simon the Cyrenian to help us along.
So many people are in this place. So many spend years in darkness, days in despair. People die, children go hungry. Crimes are committed against the innocent and the guilty run free. Families are broken apart and people fall ill. What a terrible world we would see if we didn't have eyes of faith, the hope of Christ. For no matter how long the road to Calvary, no matter how painful this Cross, we know the end of the story...
Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.