And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud became more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
The first step toward finding God, Who is Truth, is to discover the truth about myself: and if I have been in error, this first step to truth is the discovery of my error.
(current azalea bud and tiny new leaves after the devastating winter)
(this is the azalea in bloom last spring)
The tiny buds and gently unfurling leaves of this native azalea are a most welcomed site! Currently this bush should be in full bloom. However so many of the shrubs and bushes in this area of our state suffered grievously during the unprecedented bitterly cold winter coupled by the devastating ice storm.
I was certain the azalea was lost.
As this is the time of year for Georgia to come into full flower, it is a bit unsettling that currently all things are actually quite behind schedule—with my yard being no exception. I had resigned myself to the fact that some of my beloved flowering plants would be total losses. That is until today.
Upon further inspection, those crunchy dry gray leaves are now giving way to, can it actually be true, new life.
That which was considered to be lost, is thankfully now found to be full of life. The first little buds and tiny leaves, those lost to cold and ice and having shriveled away, have given way to an entirely new set of tiny new leaves and buds.
An amazing recovery by dear ol Mother Nature.
The concept of loss, and then that of ultimately being found, is a most timely concept.
I do not believe it is mere coincidence that this Spring of ours, a season for new growth and new life, which follows the season of emptiness and void, mirrors the most sacred season of Christendom—the church’s Season of Easter.
Perhaps it is having the ability to actually visualize the concept, that of a seemingly certain death which miraculously gives way to life, as carried out within nature, is what helps to make the spiritual concept much more concrete. It’s one thing to read about this most unbelievable phenomenon, it is entirely something different to be able to actually witness it taking place.
I have witnessed this first hand in my unsuspecting azalea–a plant that I was pretty certain was dead and gone. I held the crumbling gray buds and leaves in my hands as proof to its loss of life. I had even decided to dig up the small tree-like shrub in order to move it on to the compost pile, yet opting to wait just a little longer— as I tend to be lean toward the hopeful side of life.
What was by all signs dead, is now offering new growth and new life.
A beaten and bruised man, bleeding profusely is nailed to a tree and left to suffer unto death. After a certain length of time, and by all intent purposes, he is clearly dead. No pulse, no breath, no movement, no warmth—now cold, stiff and certainly lifeless. The body taken from the tree, prepared for burial, anointed with oil and wrapped in a shroud.
Only emptiness and nothingness remains.
He is buried and left to decay.
And yet. . .
The new creation, the new Adam, the new life is raised from the depths of hell and death to step forth in radiant light to a newness of Life. What was full of loss is suddenly found full of life.
Tiny miracles in Nature.
A tremendous miracle for man.
Where there was loss and death, now gives way to hope and life
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia
(***may it be noted that during the season of Lent, which is a time of deep reflection, penitence and fasting, the Church is striped of the seasonal colors and non essential materials. It is as if the Church herself is spending the 40 days of Lent in deep mourning, veiled as a widow in mourning and loss. Words such as “alleluia” or “Hallelujah” are not spoken in service as Lent is not a time of joy—it is not until the triumph of Easter that she, the Church, is again clothed in Light and Triumphant Joy)