This morning I took a "walk-about," not as my Australian friends might, but around my acre parcel of land -- small as compared to the Outback, but large as compared to the suburbs. The last week we have had one killing frost after another. This is after our early spring-like weather in late February and March. Everything was in bloom, more than a month too early -- the daffodils, the tulips, the trees, and especially the Magnolias.
The beautiful Magnolias. I have loved them all my life, always being too poor to afford them or too far north to grow them. Last year we were able to buy two young trees, Magnolia 'Jane,' which were planted late, suffered severe drought and insect pests, and yet, this year they bloomed, in breathtaking velvet-pink shades and with a honey-like fragrance. My daughter Jenny took a hundred pictures, capturing every shade, every graceful curve, and almost capturing its fragrance. Then they were frozen. By the second day, the flowers hung there looking so much like wilted lettuce, brown and unappetizing.
Yesterday, on Easter Sunday, I just sobbed. My entire garden, flush with bloom way too soon, was nothing but a pile of old lettuce, just waiting for warmer weather, so that it could begin to stink. It was a truly "all-about me" moment; and some of it was "all-about-my-mother." The magnolias, especially, were like a tribute to her; loving them all her life, she never had them. My father never understood that she would rather have had plants than crystal; she would rather have planted trees than diamonds. My mother could make anything grow. Plants loved her. She would have loved my magnolias. She would have loved that my husband bought them for me, and she would have been so touched that my daughter, Helen and he picked them out together. To my mother, that is the evidence of a great love.
Later in the evening, we all took out our Bibles and did our Easter study. We read about a young man, Jesus, who died too soon. We read about a perfect God who willingly gave up his life, so that I might sob over my garden. We read about his trial in a garden; and most of all, we read about his resurrection, which guaranteed eternal life for me. We also read about his friends, who had betrayed him, and we read about his followers who still were wrapped in fear. Then we read about His resurrection and unconditional forgiveness, a promise for all humans that salvation is not only possible, but it is freely given to those who believe. Again I sobbed, but this time it was with shame, that I would forget that gardens, too, will resurrect and bloom again.
So, as I walked through my garden this morning, the frost still clinging to the trees, I felt a sense of wonder that a God so great and loving, would come after me and capture my heart. I felt understanding fill my soul, as I realized that I am still God's favored child, much like my precious daughters are to me. He still loves my laugh; and He still turns happily at the sound of my voice.
My garden will bloom again, as will the call of my Savior, once I get past myself and focus on Him.