APRIL 3, 2013
By Ruth Tervol
Springtime is a time of growth – there is gentle but rich and fierce growth going on in my garden among the lilacs and the mud, the perennials and the muck around them, and in my soul. It gives me much hope as the days march on one after the other, and growth begins again in my garden and in my soul. It is also the season of Easter, the death of Jesus and His rising, reminding me that the body may die but the soul never does.
I have experienced the pain of the ‘winter season.’ Rich, my husband of 57 years, passed into the arms of Jesus six months ago. He loved the beauty of springtime and new growth. He spent many hours in the yard weeding and planting. I am looking forward to springtime and feeling his presence in the garden. I still at times feel a deep lonely place where he used to be, but as much as I miss him, I can concentrate on getting things ready for spring.
As it has now officially arrived – the time of ‘new growth’ – I am trying not to cling to old pain, but looking inside for new growth. Spring is gentle, but it is the time of enriched growth where trees begin to bloom and plants shoot up. I was always anxious to get started on planting the garden and cultivating the beds, but Rich would say, “It is not warm enough yet. Just wait a bit.” I have a desire for order and rest I find in winter, but spring demands new growth both in myself and in the garden, to put away the restful days of winter and find time to garden. Springtime truly is a time to plant and grow, to pay attention to the needs of others as well as myself.
I received a ‘Thinking of you’ card today from a friend who knows my heart. “This day,” she said, “May you be overcome by God’s presence, and feel surrounded by his peace and love. May you somehow know the calm and joy that God lavishes on you each day.” I had felt moments of pain this morning, and things seemed so dark that I wondered if I would ever be able to truly rejoice again. I wept as the voice of her card swept over me! In the midst of my grief, God had revealed Himself to me through my friend.
I believe God was reminding me that He was there in the midst of my pain. I would never be left alone. While the pain did not disappear, somehow my heart felt lighter, the crack in it less deep. I could move on while supporting a broken heart. This means taking time each day to be alone with God, to lift up those who have needs, and thoughts of those who have moved on.
I have found that there is a light showing me the path to follow each day. God’s light comes through the clouds to brighten my soul. It is not a light one can see, but a light one must feel. Being at peace where the Lord wants me to go comes from the time I spend with Him. Spending time with Jesus each morning helps me take the next step. The path is hard, but the beauty on the way lets me see Jesus in those around me.
I have learned on this path that when you love with all you have, you grieve with all that you are. This path the Lord has set out for me seems way too long and has too many switch backs for me to walk alone, so my friends have kept me putting one foot ahead of the other. They stop by and take me out for a walk, invite me to lunch, call and check in by phone, bring me a book, or hand me a biblical promise they have written out on a note pad. Some send me a card, and others just stop by for a hug and chat.
The Lord told me to stay connected! I am grateful for the beautiful friends and family He has given me. It is true that memories still bring tears, but I turn to God with thankfulness then sorrow turns to gratitude. I love the way His Word guides me from sadness to a thankful heart: “He who brings an offering of praise and thanksgiving honors and glorifies Me; …” (Psalm 50:23 TAB) and again “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. “ (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)
I remember often the fun we had running through the canyon, walking beside a creek, and hiking the trails of Mt. Rainier always together. At times these memories pour over me like a waterfall and the tears stream down my face so I sit down and write a note to the one I love. It helps to know that he is in a beautiful place – sitting at the feet of Jesus.