Monday, September 10, 2012

How hope runs deep

Yesterday I spent the entire afternoon weeding.

I haven't weeded since June.

It just seemed silly to me to pull up things that were already dead. And so, I just left them there. For months.  Scattered around like errant bowls of dry corn flakes, they blended in just fine with the nearly dead perennials.  Everything sat around all summer, wasted and spent.  And brown.

And then the rains came.  First, the angry storm that blew in atop winds from the South.  It burst through our creaky and split threshold like a loud uncle that walks too heavy and has leaves stuck in his hair but everyone forgives him because hides doves in his pockets.  And I rejoiced with sweet hallelujahs on my lips, for truly this was a miracle, this rain.  But secretly, I was still thirsty.

A week later and another rain.  Fast and furious and gushing buckets, this rain baptized the world anew.  Finding every crack and crevice that harbored dry dusty dirt, it flushed it out.  Every stone was turned.  Every limb was tested.

Then Saturday dawned, crisp and supple, and I sighed in spite of myself.  I began to remember that there is a time for everything and there is always this turning, above and below, and it has a cadence and a wisdom that exists apart from me.

I witnessed the miracle of how spirit breath and holy water can bring the dead to life.  All around, green buds burst out of the nothingness and sang.  And for the first time in months, I needed to weed.

It took all afternoon.

I pulled and tossed and wiped my brow and felt the sweet autumn sun on my shoulders.  And I began to see.  When there has been a time of barrenness, a time of burning fire and then dead air, a time of nothingness, the roots of established plants want to let go.  They want to hand themselves over to the siren song of death, give up their ghost and just.let.go.  But they are image bearers and as a result their very marrow hums with creation's song and they unconsciously continue to reach for life.  Deep below the surface, in the dark where no one sees, there is a groping.  Up above, where their fruit should be, they parade as dead.  But underneath, where the shadows reign, they are still hoping.

And then that blissful rain falls and quenches the profoundest thirst and now the surface begins to communicate with the deep and there is an understanding.  My flowers, the ones that seemed dead before, they've come back to life, above and below.  Those roots remember their full purpose now and they pulse.

Now there are weeds and I must pull them.  Out.

My hands plunge and scoop and toss and dirt flies and I know.  That we all come from this dirt.  That we are human because god took this humus and pasted it together and breathed life into death.  And although the weeds have found new life, so too, has the beauty.  It was joined with hope all along.


  1. Smiled over the way you describe dead weeds as errant bowls of cornflakes. I'm a gardener, can relate to all of what you express. And you do it with a beautiful paint brush of words.

  2. I'm in the middle of intense grief. Our family have lost 3 of our parents, my Grandad and an aunt in the last four months. The darkness is where I live. Your writing reminds me there is always hope. Thank you.

  3. Holly, oh friend. This is beautiful. I'm already a little nutty about gardening metaphors... I love how the cultivating and the life-pulsing and the seasons mirror the life of the Spirit. But this? It's revelation and beauty. And also, my garden and your garden sound like they'd be a match set.

  4. Thank you, Shelly. And I'm very thankful to be rid of all the dead-ness.

  5. Annie,
    Thank you, as always. I feel like you just might be one of my greatest cheerleaders. Love your voice here.

  6. Oh to have the hope of dry roots and the humility of dirt! I love your beautiful "hums with creation's song..."
    Thanks for sharing! .

  7. Thank you, Cynthia. And yes, to hold onto that hope...please, Lord!

  8. What a precious gift you have cousin. I love to read your words and celebrate that we are family. Bless you.