I once wrote a poem while in college. A very daring task for someone like me—I’ve never been one for poetry, though at times I enjoy reading it. In my odd way of thinking, I find it funny that the Book of Psalms is a balm to my soul.
There is something precious about delving deep into the meanings of words to derive understanding. Metaphors and depictions of the world can be used to create some purpose and meaning. Sometimes word pictures can light a path of comprehension.
Recently, I have been contemplating loss and grief. The pain of it, and the all-consuming weariness that can embitter a soul. In the throes of loss, worry, hurt, and pain, we can wonder why. We pull at loose threads only to realize we cannot even grasp the string.
And so, when I didn’t understand, I wrote a poem. It was nothing fancy, but rather a simple metaphor to help my mind comprehend what had happened.
One night, during Bible study, a dear friend shared her testimony. She spoke of how at thirteen years of age her family walked through grief when her older brother was killed in the service of our country while inIraq. Later, in her mid-teen years, after being diagnosed with an illness that hospitalized her for nearly a year, she met a boy. They were both ill and in need of companionship, they fell in love in the hospital. One day, she left the hospital healed, but he went home to be with the Lord.
I remember hearing her testimony and wondering at the strength in her voice. I had walked through difficult things, but not that level of loss. I pondered and wondered how God could still be good even when it hurt.
So, I wrote a poem.
I pictured a Gardener—so carefully tending to a garden full of flowers. Some roses, some daisies, some tulips. Some flourished in wild fields while others were carefully and perfectly clipped and pruned. Others climbed along the stone walls, their vines grasping at the tendrils of the House.
Ever so gently, the Gardner walked amongst the flowers. Some He pruned, some He cut, smiling at their glory, full of bloom and radiant. Others, their petals only just beginning to unfurl were cut, the buds only just blooming taken in the House for the glory of the Gardner.
That was their design, to magnify His majesty. Only He chose which buds, would be brought in the House for His enjoyment to unfurl. Only He designed which blooms should remain out in the garden, filling the world with beauty and warmth, that the Gardner might witness the work of His hands. Whether in the garden or in the House, all the flowers were to glorify the Gardner as He poured out His care and attention, enjoying their beauty and life.
The poem was left open ended … but it helped me to grasp some understanding, even if it was just a little.
The losses of those my friend loved were because they had been called home. She had been left to bloom, and can I tell you she has done it so well? She is now a doctor, and would you like to know why she became a doctor? Because she remembers what it was like to hear the worst news of her life, and though she didn’t want to see the hurt of others, she wanted to be the helping hand that offered some comfort when life lost all meaning. Even when it hurt, she bloomed.
She, in her pain, found purpose and hope to bloom in full majesty to the glory of the Lord.
For although understanding may be lacking, it will all make sense one day with our faith becomes sight. Look around you today and see what God has walked you through and what seasons of life pruned you. Perhaps they were the very seasons and reasons for why you are blooming today.
For we have the hope that one day we will understand fully and completely when the Gardner takes us Home!
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13: 12-13