One of the responses to this photo on my blog said this looks like a party, like the flowers are celebrating something. I found the comments fitting as well as suggestive. Nature once again comes to our aid in leading the song through life, the good, bad, the mediocre and the sublime pieces that make up life.
This last month has been difficult for me. There are many aspects that have contributed to this being the case, most recently a fowl cold that has put me on my back for about a week, effectively eliminating any residual energy for writing, taking pictures, getting out, let alone doing ministry. Other things have also added to the burden of April this year. Some looming deadlines have not paused during this month either so now as I'm coming out of the hole and they are looming that much more, coming at me faster than last week! Eeeches. Sometimes life works this way. This is when I need to be reminded by God's creation that with God, there is the promise of new life each day. In the midst of lament, I am reminded that, "The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is thy faithfulness." [Lamentations 3:22-23].
Henri Nouwen reminds us in his little volume, Clowning in Rome, that "it is sad that in our days we no longer believe in the ministry of nature to us. We so easily limit ministry to work for people by people. But we could do an immense service to our world if we would let nature heal, counsel, and teach again" [p. 93]. The other day, after several days of hiding away inside with my cold, I got out to the local park and found the flowers were able to minister to me. Without demanding they be noticed, without making noise, they made the quiet but unmistakable statement that God's lovingkindness never ceases. In the context of a difficult month, they were nice and welcome reminders that God is good.
Flowers, and nature, however, are generally not demanding our attention, so can go unnoticed. I can think of a qualification to that statement even as I made it, like storms for instance, or the kickback we are beginning to see from global warming. Having said that, however, nature generally does not force us to listen. But we miss this little and significant piece of God's handiwork, along with it access to the language of the soul, at our own peril. Again, Nouwen reminds us that "our difficult and very urgent task is to realize that nature is not primarily a property to be possessed, but a gift to be received with admiration and gratitude."
I am right there. I don't like to work in gardens. Weeds, dirt under the nails, sore knees. Not my cup of tea. But it is in the garden, at least those tended by others, where I have recently found new strength, perspective, and reminder of God's unfailing mercy and faithfulness. That is something to celebrate, with pompoms!