The picture on the left is of one of my gardens. It's small; yet it is filled with things that I like. It's right outside of my back door.
The tree trunk that you see, is ten years old. I planted it as a tiny seedling, along with several others. Most of the seedlings did not grow. This one did. It is a healthy tree. Through torrential rains, ice storms, and summer drought, this tree, somehow is anchored to everything that is good about the land.
When we moved into our house, the yard was filled with trees, but the ground was red clay, which turned to concrete under the summer sun, and became a quagmire after days of rain. Our yard sits on a granite shelf, that is two feet down. The dirt (we laughingly call soil) is covered with the ugliest lawn I've ever seen, and it is filled with rocks. From that beginning, we have created gardens. My favorite is the garden that you see in the photo at top left.
The statue is a statue of Francis of Assisi. Francis was a young man, who lived in the Twelfth Century. He gave up a wealthy existence to become poor. He gave up life as a soldier, to become a man of peace. You may remember his poem, which begins:
"Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith...."
It is well worth the Google-search to read the entire poem.
Francis is one of my favorite peace makers. He loved the Lord, and His people. He loved the animals, and he called them "brother" and "sister." It just seemed right to find a statue of Francis to be a part of this garden.
In the world that we live in, there isn't much peace. Yesterday, a young girl in India committed suicide, because of her fear of what is referred to as "the big-bang machine." Billions of dollars have been spent on this giant contraption that "might" bring about new technologies. Or it might blow the world up. The young girl was so terrified, that she took her own life. It breaks my heart.
Never mind that there are people being slaughtered in the Sudan and around the world...people who want nothing more than a future for themselves and their children. Yet, we are a pretty selfish society, and the more able we become in technology, the less able we become as human beings.
We cannot force peace upon strangers who don't want peace, anymore than we can force peace upon certain members of our own families. You know who I mean. You have perverse people in your life who are all about attack, slash and burn, in their relationships. Anything to bring about their own interpretation of victory. Never peace.
Life is not easy in a world like this. In our own community, there is affluence and poverty. It bothers me. I want someone to care about the poor. When we stand before God, what are we going to tell Him about our propensity to invent one more contraction, that we have no idea WHAT it will actually do? And when He asks us, "Did you feed your brother? Did you heal your sister?" What are we going to say?
"Well, we built a lot of stuff?"
So, I'm sadly aware, that we can only do our best to feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty. We cannot dictate what governments should do. We cannot singlehandedly bring about the one thing that we all long for...peace.
So, as in my garden, we must find a place that brings us personal peace. As we reflect upon this tragic anniversary of America's darkest hour. As we contemplate the lives that were lost at the Twin Towers (from every nation) let us find the peace that we seek within our selves.
So, join with me now, in the garden of our hopes and dreams, and let us bring peace to our souls. We can only pray that our world will follow.
Father in heaven, in the words of your servant, Francis, please make of us, instruments of Your peace.
Thursday, September 11, 2008