“God is what he is;
Yahweh is who he is.”
The first thing the Cross does is cross out the world’s word by a Wholly-Other Word,
a Word that the world does not want to hear at any price.
For the world wants to live and rise again before it dies,
while the love of Christ wants to die in order to rise again in the form of God on the
other side of death, indeed, IN death.”
― Hans Urs von Balthasar
(a surprise resurrection blooming peony / Julie Cook /2017)
Late last Spring, early summer, I found myself wandering through the garden center of Lowes.
Whenever I’m feeling ‘less then’, blah or downright sad I often find myself wandering
the garden center.
Rows and rows of color, vibrancy and simply life…
abundant in the scents and sights of fullness, always seems to lift my spirits.
I either wander aimlessly, seeking some hidden sense of solace…
or I wander with a purpose…as in I come with the intent of purchasing something
as in, there is a reason and a need for the wandering.
Last planting season I was seeking a few shrubs that were deer resistant but plants
that had more umph than some sort of boxwood or holly.
Something that could survive the full relentless Georgia sun.
A summer either baking and dry or sticky and humid…
Last summer it was hot and dry with a long lasting and oh so deadly drought.
I am a fan of the old fashioned sort of plants found in gardens that harken
to another time…a lovely sort of English cottage garden…
Those gardens that call to mind the thoughts and memories of those who have gone before.
So imagine my piqued interest when I spied a potted peony.
Peonies remind me of old world stateliness…soft while elegant.
Not flashy, not cutting edge, not loud nor garish.
A very southern old-time staple.
I am not a green thumb queen like our friend Natalie over on Sacred Touches
I do however enjoy planting and working in the yard,
as it is extremely therapeutic for me…
It’s just that I don’t always have success and I don’t always know what I’m doing.
After checking out the price tag on the peony, I had a bit of sticker shock.
It was very expensive.
I asked one of the garden center folks if the peony could survive full sun.
She told me yes and that that was the last peony for the season…that she had already bought
one of the others despite it being a big splurge…she was just excited to get one.
Seeing that I was in the midst of the growing difficult life with Dad’s declining health
and the beginnings of his increasing needs as the life I had known had ceased…
I wanted, no I needed, something to bring me a bit of joy…
I figured a blooming peony could do just that.
So I too splurged and bought the potted peony.
Long story short.
I planted it.
I cared for it.
But we had a deadly drought.
Baking heat and a drought…
This is what the peony looked like come early Fall…
Dejected and sad I text Natalie the pictures.
Knowing her to be the queen of flowers, I shared my loss with her.
Natalie does indeed know a thing or two about flowers and plants
as well as a thing or two about heat and drought as she hails from Texas…
She told me not to dig up the plant…
“Just leave it, because come Spring, you might just be surprised.”
“Peonies are of a hardy stock.”
I suppose a Texas southerner knows a thing or two about hardy stock.
So as the winter came and my life grew more grey and difficult, I forgot all about the peony.
Fast forward to now…as I wander about in the wake of losing Dad,
going through the motions these last couple of weeks while trying to pick up the pieces of
what all he’s left behind,
I’ve been working slowly to bring some semblance of order back into my world.
Wandering about the yard, seeking newness and fullness, I caught my breath when I noticed
a little tuft of fresh greenery emerging from the recently replaced pine straw.
Cautiously over the past week, I’ve watched the little tuft get fuller and taller.
Then Sunday afternoon I couldn’t believe my eyes, there was a bloom.
A real resurrection of sorts….
And how timely that this garden resurrection should manifest itself during this most
Holy of weeks…
The weightiness and heaviness of this world…with its pain and overwhelming sorrow…
It is both frightening while at the same time complacent as it lulls us into feeling
that it is our home, our only home.
Dirty and broken, hot and dry…it clutches us, smothering us as it holds our
face in it’s grip convincing us that this world is all we could ever want or need.
Yet in that brokeness and loneliness of our empty hearts and souls…we yearn
While we shrink in the dryness…
we are spent…
So on that hot dry day of loss…
as a head drops to the chest and the last breath is released…
while the sky darkens and all hope leaves with that drying…
A promise is not forgotten…
and soon our world will change forever…
for the better…..
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you:
Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses,
the Prophets and the Psalms.”