Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Trees Planted Near Water

The bible has some weird, weird stuff in it - no question - but so much of it stops me in my tracks with awe. 

I’m writing this at the end of a long bitter Canadian winter. Snow and ice covered our city for months and even in April, everything looked grey and dead. Most of the snow had melted to reveal the messy detritus of months of neglect. I cringed when I glimpsed a squirrel's body half buried in the mucky boulevard near my grandkids’ house.  As a gardener and mystic, I felt desperate for the sight of green growth. 

On the first day that my backyard was only soggy instead of treacherous, I snipped some branches from a forsythia although the bush was nowhere near blooming. It’s scraggly branches held the same tiny dormant knobs that hadn’t changed all winter long, but I was starving for living flowers and thought I’d at least try.

I filled a vase with water and set the brown branches on my livingroom mantle. Every morning I’d check, wondering if there was any chance that they would spring to life. And then the day came. All up and down the length of each branch were tiny tips of green with a minuscule bit of yellow poking out. I gasped, and almost cried. I felt like running out into the street yelling “LOOK! Come and see this! I can’t believe my eyes – these dead branches are blooming!”

Honestly, there is no word big enough except miracle. A dry woody stick, given some water and warmth, produces out of nowhere a soft, pretty lime green casing for a sunny yellow four-petalled flower. How is this possible?!

A couple of days later I happened on this biblical sentence:
“Happy are the ones who delight in God’s way and meditate on it; they will be like trees planted by streams of water, trees that yield their fruit in season, trees whose leaves don’t wither.”
YES – water! Christ’s offer stands,“If anyone’s thirsty, they should come to me and drink”
Wherever things look dry and dead, the God who powers Spring’s flowers can bring new life.