If you're like most of my friends... Lent tends to start reeeeeally dragging right about now. As the beautiful weather begins, our statues are covered, and our hearts are longing for some Resurrection! Today for Friendsday Wednesday, my niece Kaitlin share with us a reflection about her desire for some New Life!
Keep on keepin' on!
Inspired by the sun and the growing grass, I did something I hadn’t done in a long, long time in my relatively short life: planted some flowers. I was hoping to add some color to the patio in our backyard, so after a trip to All Seasons, I returned with flowers and all the necessary items to becoming a hopeful, new gardener. I was really looking forward to quality leisure time by getting these flowers planted, and enjoying the new scenery that afternoon.
But while I was transplanting them and watching some ominous rain clouds roll in, I started to get quite concerned. I was being really gentle while putting them in the pots, but a couple of petals still fell off one of the marigolds. And the petunias seemed thinner than sketching paper. I imagined the pelting, violent raindrops would rip the petals right off. And what if it got windy and blew all the vines got everywhere? What if they drowned?!
Then it hit me - these were plants. They literally live outside. There was some risk with them being outside, but they are fearfully and wonderfully made. They can take it. They can take the heat, the rain, the cold, and frost; and hopefully they can take it if I fail to nurture them like I should each day.
Then something else hit me: it had become a good analogy for an idea I’d been wrestling with. There was tension in my mind over the idea that I must be tough in order to live out in the world while being a devout Christian. That I must be unaffected by any kind of tribulation in the world.
On one hand you can’t wilt at every materialistic thing blazing on around you. On the other hand, you can’t become a stone-cold rock who’s only option is to be whittled away slowly, and where growing is certainly not an option.
I’ve been looking for the happy middle ground soil where I can be sturdy, yet not impervious to the winds of the Holy Spirit. I can be gathering from the waters of life--from the Lord--even revealed to me amidst the world, but not be washed away by tainted flood waters that are often the raging sentiments of cultural phenomena, or be stuck in a staid and muddy pool that is the breeding ground for life-sucking habits (I’m looking at you mosquitos and mojitos).
By considering the petunias and marigolds hanging out in the backyard, I realized that there is a middle ground. And by praying about it, I saw that the middle ground is living a life in light of the Resurrection.
“Notice how the flowers grow. They do not toil or spin. But I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass in the field that grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? As for you, do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not worry anymore. All the nations of the world seek for these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these other things will be given you besides. Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Luke 12:27-34
Living a life in light of the Resurrection sets our hearts on the right course of action, on the right treasure. It brings about beauty and docility in a life that is balanced by steadfastness found in the hope and joy of the Resurrection. A life set in hope and joy of the Resurrection will not be sacrificed for petty things of the world. This even means that when one should fall to the world, that hope and joy in the Resurrection sets one’s heart to turn to the Father immediately for mercy, because they know that dwelling in fear or shame yields nothing of the fruit that Jesus’ love on the Cross gained for us.
It takes patience, though, like any kind of growing does. Patience with ourselves and patience with God, Who only delays for the cause of salvation, as St. Peter said. But we should never get locked up in fear or become so reserved out in the world that none see the work of Jesus within us.
Because consider a rock instead, like pet rocks. They may have mouths, but they cannot speak. They may have eyes, but they cannot see. They may have ears but they cannot hear. Nor is there any breath at all in their mouths. We are children of a living God. We must trust Him as Creator. He truly nurtures His children out in the world as long as they set their hearts on the treasure of the Resurrection.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made for the time and place we find ourselves in. In Lent, we learn more about what type of soil to avoid, or what weeds we need to root up around us, so that the Word of God may fall upon fertile soil. And in light of the Resurrection, we reach heavenward like the flowers, yearning with charity towards eternity.
Kaitlin S. Davis is in formation to be a consecrated virgin living in the world. Her life in the world includes being an Athletic Trainer at the Episcopal School of Acadiana, coordinating and leading missions trips to Alaska with College Missions Company, pulling against the Atlanta Falcons, and quoting Pope Benedict XVI on the reg. You can contact Kaitlin at email@example.com.