Sunday, October 16, 2011
Sunday Afternoon Tea
A number of years ago, I lived close to a quiet neighborhood where I used to walk my three miles a day... one and a half miles out and one and a half miles back. There was a house which I passed soon after starting my walk and as I was just slowing down upon my return.
The house had such pretty landscaping which I quite admired but what really drew my attention was the gate to the backyard. When it was opened, one could view beautiful rose bushes and one had the feeling that far more was to be discovered "out back".
One day the home owner was outside when I was returning home and I stopped to ask her about her backyard. She smiled and told me whenever the gate was open, I was free to make my way through the gate and "stay awhile" where it was peaceful.
For the woman ended up being a psychologist and the garden was created especially to bring peace to one's soul. She led me into the backyard where I soon found a Secret Garden... which one would not expect in a regular subdivision in town... blooming in its' full glory.
She explained that many of her patients knew about the garden and would stop by even when she was not home. When the gate was open, they could enjoy the healing powers of her garden by sitting alone and thinking.
I can't remember exactly what it looked like but I do recall the peace I felt sitting in the garden on one of the benches... at a time when I was going through a particularly difficult season of days and months and years.
It was after the diagnosis of ill health... after having to sell our dream home... after moving to Detroit... after living by the Pond... after a year or more of unemployment... after moving back home with no money and no prospects but many miracles... before buying our home here at the edge of the forest.
I was thinking of that garden these past weeks, as the forest was ablaze with golds and yellows and crimson and all the various shades of green. Walking down the gravel lane and taking in such Beauty... loving the aroma of woodsmoke... and hearing the sounds of squirrels and other small furry creatures scurrying through the woods (at last I hoped they were small!)... all bringing such peace and reminding me of that garden.
All of this to say... my ponderings came full circle and caused me to think of the people who have been the gardens of my life. Those who have made the journey easier with their love and compassion. Whether a much needed vacation (a gift from our daughter's family) or a book in the mail... whether a party in a box which contained lovely items to make autumn warm and cozy or a visit to Starbucks to experience a pumpkin spice latte... all gifts from Him through others.
I don't think this side of Heaven we will ever know how big the little things were... the importance of the cold cup of water given in the desert or the simple gift of a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning. We only think of the big things we do for others or they do for us without realizing it is the lifetime of little things that really matter.
For the big things are seldom but the little offers of friendship... the helping another carry their cross along the way even if just for a moment... that is what I believe He notices the most. As much as I enjoyed that garden when the gate was opened, how much more I have come to realize I could not have made it through this journey if not for those who shared... not their gardens but themselves.
How truly lovely are the feet of those who bring good news of Peace and Love and Joy and lift the burdens of others by just a little... but enough to help them make it to the finish line and to never ever give up. I have come to realize how much we need each other on this journey and He is the one who made it that way. :)