Love is Come Again, Like Wheat that Springeth Green
In a recent column about death and grief, Margaret Renkl wrote, “My mother’s sudden death obliterated any illusion that daily patterns are trustworthy.” These words resonate with me, as I grapple with my husband John’s sudden illness and death last fall. A death causes the tectonic plates of one’s existence to shift and buckle. Ease and optimism recede into the past; the way ahead, if it can be seen at all, seems to wind through a wasteland. When this happens, it is easy to feel utterly bereft, abandoned even by God.
Luis Leon often said, “God gives us minimal protection but maximum support.” If I have learned anything in the last months, it is that none of us is protected. Many people, maybe most, are soldiering on, cradling their losses. If grief is ubiquitous, God’s loving support can be more difficult to discern since it comes to us through human agents. God, speaking through my sister, calls “just to check in.” God, in the form of an old friend, texts regularly reminding me to breathe and to take my time. God makes sure my daughter phones every day. God has sent me notes and flowers from near and far. God sent a neighbor to my house with a beautiful Valentine plant. The way forward is still uncertain and painful, but many good people are walking with me. I am not alone.
Recently, a friend told me that after John’s service in November she picked up an acorn across the street from the church. She planted that acorn, and it has now sprouted. We are both excited about nurturing the tiny seedling, about watching it grow into the oak we hope it will become. Already that sprout has become for me a metaphor for my fragile but growing assurance of God’s loving presence through the worst of times.
Links to the appointed readings and prayer for today: