Saturday, March 31, 2018

Saturday is for flowers.

Nearly three years ago, I remember a dear friend bringing bright red gerber daisies to my office when a beloved student of ours passed away.

Sometime in the past few years, fresh flowers became a ritual of grieving in my life, as loss has seemed prevalent.

A bunch of stems or a bright potted flower are as essential as vitamins and vegetables when grief has struck. Blossoms and leaves make their way into my grocery basket, playing their healing roles.

When my uncle passed away on Ash Wednesday, it was almost a Pavlovian response. My home needed living color. The sweet plant with happy little yellow flowers is still gracing my bar in the kitchen.

Not just plants, but flowers.
Petals with radiant shades.
A sign of life and joy to brighten the room.
Blossoming, visual proof there life is persisting.
Pushing back and reminding death it’s not the only one in the house.
Blooms of hope talking smack.
Flowers showing dirt who's boss.
Sweet, hopeful salve to the fresh sting of loss.
Leaves reassuring us life is still here even when death insists we believe it isn't.

Flowers simply make me smile.

Bright, grinning daisies, muted and lovely, white hydrangeas, yellow Billy Balls, all kinds and colors of chrysanthemums, roses, and tulips. Some leaves tiny and round, others large and pointed; colors and sizes as numerous as the flowers themselves.

God’s creativity shows off in petals and pollen and I need reminders of it in the shadow of death.

Sitting on the counter, the sunny petals on my Kalanchoe flower are flopped open proving the opposite of where they’ve come from.
They aren’t just beautiful and cheery. They speak a better, hopeful word. Dirt doesn’t get the final say. Seeds teach us that those gone into the ground aren’t sentenced there forever. Dirt can't keep them from dazzling; it only helps them do so.

Life can’t be constrained by dust. God’s endless creativity can’t help itself.

Resurrection finds itself popping up in more places and ways more vast, unique, and beautiful than flowers. All sizes, shapes, and flavors of resurrection. Blooms tell resurrection's story.
And we, my friends, are so much more to our Heavenly Father than flowers.

So today, on this day we remember Jesus dead in the tomb, I bought and cut and arranged flowers.
To commemorate and honor death.
To smell life while loss lingers.
To be reminded that life doesn’t disappear in dirt.
That this, too, shall pass.
Burial is the first step to blooming.
For Jesus in Holy Week.
For Jesus followers into perfect, eternal life and relationship.

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.John 12:24

There will be a day when Eden overflows with a perfect garden of leaves radiant, lives resurrected, and love renovated. All things restored and whole; back to shalom, life as it ought to be.
A more redeemed version than we could ever even imagine or recognize as possible life.
It’s on the way.
The stone was rolled away, opening the door to all resurrection and restoration.
But before the tomb could open on Easter, it had to close.

Sunday is coming. Easter and Eden are on the way.
And while I wait, my house smelling of flowers helps me not to forget.

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