The sun was enthroned in the royal blue sky. The trees sang in the gentle breeze. They sang the enchanting song of rebirth. The birds tweeted the refrain and the first butterfly of the season rested on the bobbing head of a daffodil, face lifted to the sun. I walked in the woods on the property of a friend this week. As winter's vestiges disappeared the early flowers and the budding trees proclaimed the arrival of Spring.
My heart felt alive as I walked the trails amidst the tree branches that had fallen in the winter's harshness. Soggy leaves had become the birthplace of new growth for the iris and the hyacinth. The pond coated with scum gurgled softly as water lilies turned their faces to the sun.
My friend led the way, giving me a full description of the carefully choreographed flower beds and trails. Years of careful planting and maintenance allowed the greater portion of the woods to return every spring to its full glory as perennials burst forth stronger than the year before.
"The woods almost takes care of itself," she commented.
She was right. The well worn path was easily defined and trimmed with foliage placed there by a master gardener. The plants knew what to do. The path clearly led the way. We went further into the woods and found that a large tree had dropped in the winter's cold. It covered the path and we could go no further. As we turned to take another trail, the trees rustled. In awe we watched five deft and lovely dear bound into the clearing. Stopped in our tracks, we shared together the breathtaking moment of God's artistic craftsmanship. It almost seemed as if heaven was resting in this place.
Back at the house my heart began to speak. How often we find ourselves in the aftermath of a winter of the heart. As healing begins life seems to lift its face back to the sky. The branches that have fallen in the winter's harshness give way to the well worn path of hope. Soggy leaves of tear-filled days become birthplaces for new opportunities, new relationships and sweet memories. The scum blanketing the freshness of the heart begins to retreat as the glory of forgiveness and grace break through.
The Master Gardener's careful planting and attention to the landscape leaves a clear remnant of the way to go, even if the path has been covered with the residue of a former season or blocked by some force beyond reckoning. If the heart must take a different path, it is probable that the beauty of God's hand will be seen. As we catch a glimpse of his handiwork, we are humbled to experience moments designed by Him specifically for us--moments to remind us that He is always near, and his path is full of life and beauty and wonder. Heaven is never far--it rests on earth for those who are willing to embrace it. The enchanting song of rebirth sings--a new season begins.
"for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come." Song of Solomon 2
Shelley Lopez, Executive Director
Shelley has been a member of the Springfield community for 29 years. As she lives and works and worships in the city, she uses the metaphor of an old Victorian house restoration to keep her focused on the work she is called to do. Inspired by the words of the prophet Isaiah, she pours herself into "restoring old ruins, rebuilding and renovating, making the community livable again" (Is. 58:12 MSG)