The morning sun illuminates a small portion of the labyrinth, while the rest is shaded by the trees. It reminds me of our journey in life and faith, that some portions seem to be warmed by sunshine, bathed in light, and some are dark and cold. But God is ever-present throughout the journey: in the light, and through the “valley of the shadow of death”.
I’m reminded that the God who is guiding my journey can be trusted. “He guides me along right paths”. Breathe. No need to panic, the path I’m walking will lead to the right place. But more importantly, the path itself is purposeful. It is all vital in the formation of me, of who I’m becoming. God is weaving this winding story that all serves to shape my character and bring me into the person I was always meant to be, until I finally arrive home.
What if the path you’re on is the exact right one? What if the twists that turn back on themselves and seem so futile and useless, are all part of the plan? Maybe I need to trust the path a little more. Maybe I need to lean into the discomfort of the twists and turns a little more. I have so many rough edges that still need sanding down.
There it is. Sprouting up, against all odds. No doubt the gardener has worked hard to ensure it won’t be there. So many things are actively and purposely working against it, and yet it prevails.
Life is persistent. It’s hardy and stubborn, and it will spring up even in the harshest of conditions. You need only wait patiently.
I pause to recognize what a gift that little sprig of green is to me. Green has always been my favorite color, and maybe because it’s the color of life. “Green is God’s neutral,” a dear friend used to say. Both beautiful and vibrant, calm and soothing, it brings peace to the soul.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures….He restores my soul.” Just look at the green all around me. So much to be thankful for. Bask in it. Allow my soul to be restored.
This is how I slowly began to come alive again. You may have noticed (or maybe you haven’t at all) that I haven’t been writing much lately. Truth be told, I’ve been feeling very dry. Now I am an expert at this, because I have a thoroughly BLACK thumb, and I can tell you from experience that when a plant dries up too much, it dies. When the soil starts to crack, and the start to droop, there is point at which there’s no turning back. No amount of water will bring it back to life. At least that’s the way it goes in my house.
My sister-in-law, on the other hand, has a VERY green thumb, and is a miracle worker when it comes to plants. She’s like the plant whisperer. Give her anything once green that appears on the brink of death, and she can revive it. I’ve seen it many times over, and I can tell you it’s a true, mysterious, honest-to-goodness miracle. I could never do what she does with plants. See exhibit A:
Let’s take a moment of silence for this pathetic relic of a once-vibrant plant, that I soundly killed. It’s not that I didn’t try! It’s not that I didn’t have good intentions! But there it sits. Lifeless and decaying.
I feel like I’ve been experiencing the first stages of thirsting to death on the inside. It’s as if I was one of the unfortunate plants in my house that I intended to nurture, but utterly failed. My soil was cracked, my leaves were drooping, and I was starting to lose color. I felt empty, like I had no nutrients or signs of life in there. Or maybe it’s just that the drying up made it all stuck, lying dormant until that renewing drink of cool water starts to heal the cracks and bring some vitality back.
Admittedly, I have neglected some of my basic needs. I mean, it’s not rocket science. A plant needs water and sunshine, and maybe some good nutrients in its soil, and it will grow. I, just like the plants, need certain rhythms, certain nurturing, to keep me going too. All it took was a little sunshine, a little solitude, a little refreshment, and my soul is back. I’m bright green again. And I am now getting religious about my watering.