Fifteen years ago my mom gave me a beautiful African Violet. The first time it bloomed its leaves were barely visible beneath the purple blossoms. That Christmas, my grandsons were playing tag and knocked the violet onto the floor. I picked it up, put all its dirt I could salvage back into the pot and added new. But the plant never bloomed again. That is, until one year ago. Right after she died. Again blossoms hid the leaves. In an unidentifiable way, its blooming again comforted me. Many possibilities or explanations came and went through my thoughts, none strong enough to stay. Then, a few days ago, one year after her death, I noticed two new blossoms and an explosion of buds. I still have no explanation, nor do I want one. But with the violet’s renewed zest for life, it causes me to pause, stand apart from my daily busyness and bask in my favorite “Mom” memories.
As I jogged along the trail today only one thought came to mind. Spring is here. Yes, snow still covered the landscape but beneath it, water poured into ponds and low-lying areas. Naked trees still shivered in the breeze, but the breeze no longer bit. I slowed down as I jogged passed the willows, noticing tiny buds on their stems. A promise of pussy willows. A bright yellow sun shone from a cloudless sky turning my hoodie into a sauna. I removed it, tied it around my waist, and without the extra weight on my shoulders, my speed picked up.
Thoughts zoomed through my mind as if on steroids. The Easter story rose above the rest. What Jesus did for me all those years ago. Sure, I was a good girl. Going to church on Sunday was what we did. Do for others what you want them to do for you was not an option. Yet, my life wasn’t much different from the snow banks hugging the trail I jogged upon. On the outside I was like the clean white top layer of snow that glistened in the sunlight. Those millions of snowflakes huddled together, suggesting softness and purity. They begged me to lie down in the midst of them and make a snow angel. But the wisdom I’d gained from living through many springs dismissed the invitation. These snow banks, like many other things in life were not what they appeared to be.
Beneath that pure white surface, skulked layers of deteriorating snow and filthy water. As the water flowed across gentle inclines in search of a place to pool, debris of all descriptions hitch hiked a ride, changing its course, slowing its progress, making it filthier. A far cry from the sheet of driven snow it started out to be.
My heart ached. |Tears blurred my vision. I had been born pure and clean as a fresh snowfall, but years of disobedience and wrong choices made my life personify a March landscape. Until I met Jesus for whom He really is. The Savior of my soul. The forgiver of my life-threatening sins. The healer of my aging body.
I stopped jogging, my gaze sweeping my surroundings. It came to a rest on a small knoll rising above its frozen surroundings. Brown grass and dead leaves covered it, making it appear drab against the snow. Almost unsightly. Picking my way through the snow, I walked toward it, and squatted. Beneath the rotting foliage tiny, green blades of grass reached for the sun.
A small discovery as seen through my human eyes. But my spiritual eyes saw so much more. It reminded me of how often Christ had brought something fresh and beautiful out of situations I had written off as wasted.
For me a walk/jog is not just an exercise to keep my physical body in shape. It is a time I meet with God. Sometimes, through earnest prayer, but more often, small things like new grass, dandelions and melting snow whisper to me How Great is my God.
Early this morning, I left for my daily walk/run, my thoughts in a turmoil. Regardless of my struggle to keep positive, yesterday plagued my mind. I’d been helping my 35 year-old son who has MS. His words, brimming with anger and defeat, still burned in my head. The sight of him clinging to railings, cupboards, and walls, to navigate around his home haunted my heart. As a mother, I wanted to cradle him as I did when he was two years old. To tell him tomorrow will be better. But he’s no longer little and I know tomorrow might be worse. I needed to blame someone, something. To scream. To demand why. Was this punishment for some wrong deed? My fists clenched. My throat ached and I looked up. Only God had the answers. Suddenly, peace like a warm blanket swaddled me and the song He is High and Lifted Up floated into my thoughts. As if to prove it, when I sprinted around the next corner the sun had risen high enough to set aglow a clump of trees. Humbled, I slowed my pace. In spite of my negativity, God had taken time to remind me even in the midst of despair, He is with us. He is High and Lifted Up, and will give us the strength and wisdom we need in the moment we need it.
On first impression, these glimmering waves threatened to lull me into a state of tranquility. Moments before I yielded to its temptation, I took a closer look.