Planting season is upon us. Everywhere you look flowers are blooming and garden seedlings are taking root. Landscapes are changing. It is all a welcome sight for tired eyes and weary hearts. There is progress in the viral war that has plagued the world and yanked our sense of familiarity. I want to celebrate and move on, in a cautiously optimistic way, while I take notice of the weeds among the daisies.
There are lessons in the weeds that invade our lives. I have been digging deep, appreciating the weeds. Do you see yourself as a digger or a driver? When circumstances are beyond our control, the impulse is to dig in or drive past (aka flee the scene). Over the past year and half, I have seen far more taking the latter. Covid-19 brought a sense of mortality to the forefront. Some dug in to learn and understand, while others drove past the pending lessons to hurriedly engage all life still had to offer. Others vacillated between the two hoping to find some sense of normalcy.
The noise of both diggers and drivers was so loud, so often, that words of wisdom were too easily missed. In all that distraction, too many lost their footing, their sense of compassion, and ultimately their ability to see that we are intricately linked by God’s design. I see the weeds still among the daisies and want to shout, “Slow down! Dig deeper! Take empathy and compassion with you as you rise from the mire and muck! Don’t lose sight of the ones still suffering!” Realistically, I know, my chances of being heard among the noise is next to nil. Instead my heart whispers in prayer, I see the tired eyes and weary heart of those still stuck in the dirt turned to mud. Help me help them.
Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. – Psalm 126:5
Words inspired by God. Words to live by. Words to get us through. Words I held on to tightly, in being drawn back to my roots again and again.
Covid gripped my elderly father, robbed him of strength and stamina, ravished the life he knew – and now, he is miraculously taking up roots in a new place. A brain injury threatened my niece’s life; robbed her of strength and stamina, ravished the life she knew – and now, she is miraculously taking up roots in a new place, new job, new outlook, one in a million survivor on the other side of suffering. A rare severe allergic reaction to poison ivy rendered my daughter unable to use her hands or care for her baby, robbed her of strength and stamina, ravished her ability to function – and now, she is miraculously planting a harvest-to-be and changing the landscape.
The losses continued, one atop the other but we kept on digging to give the weeds a fighting chance at becoming daisies. We had faith – those tears could be sown into joyful shouting! The past year and a half of my life is filled with so much muck, and I know I am not alone in that. I also know I am not alone in miracles arising from tears shed in quiet spaces.
I did not have to go back to my roots and help in the suffering. I did not have to leave familiarity, live out of a suitcase, or spend a harsh winter in the northeast — I was not yanked up. I felt called and so I went. My husband went too. My other niece (being a nurse) went too. Right after I closed the doors on a decade of running a non-profit, the distress calls began. Our availability was not a coincidence, it was an appointment. As if God saw me waving, “here I am Lord, send me” – He was paving the way ahead of me, ahead of all of us. There has been an unusual awakening occurring in my heart. I feel like an awe-struck child seeing something for the first time. In the middle of what pained us there was pure joy. If only I could paint a thousand words to describe what those tears did reap, maybe you could see and choose to dig in rather than drive past. I look at the weeds left behind and wonder what else could have been done, or still can be done.
In the pandemic chaos, some were trying to forge ahead in spite of it, and others were trying to protect themselves against it — anyone who swallowed that sense of mortality even if just for a moment got a glimpse of what it is to fight debilitating disease or be among the elderly locked away in care facilities. The days of hands-on involved care partnering were wiped away. Those “privileges” still haven’t fully restored and there is no ETA; though the drivers would have us believing otherwise, us diggers know better. The weeds of uncertainty have narrowed my focus and afforded me a more simple purpose. JUST BE.
Be available. Be ready. Be willing. Be confident when and where called.
Digging into my roots has changed the landscape of my life. The peace experienced amid life and death struggles was wonderfully and oddly awakening. It provoked a quieting deep in my soul, something I had not experienced in over 30 years. It prompted me to celebrate where and how I had grown, and return to where those spiritual seeds were first planted. I have slowed down to a semi-retired lifestyle alongside my husband. I am continually listening for whispers of wisdom, the type God really wants us to hear. I am excited for what is to come, for more time back in my roots, and for the miracles found in rising to the occasions.
I take to heart affirming words. Just this morning, a faithful friend said, “There is nothing wrong with wanting to just be for awhile, no expectation. Be where you can be filled. Nourishing yourself is a necessary season.”
My tears have sown joyful shouting. I pray yours have too.
Flowers are blooming, seedlings are taking root, and landscapes are changing. Please do your part to put an end to the viral war of Covid – choose to help restore all that has been lost.
p.s. I wrote this in the morning and by evening the landscape of my life was forever changed. My father closed his eyes after his dinner and never opened them again. With a peace that passes all understanding, his journey was complete.