Bright Dabs of Grace

All three kids are home today.

Their schools are online again, and it feels like we’re back to a year ago. It’s not exactly the same: I’ve had both of my shots. We’ve gotten used to masks. Online learning has gotten a lot more sophisticated. But still, as I looked through the cupboards to try to find something for their lunch, I couldn’t help but feel like it was an eerie repeat of last Spring.

So, I took Katie outside and we planted bulbs.

They are out of season. I should have planted them last Fall. But those months held challenges enough of their own and I never made it out to the patch of ground I knew would be perfect for them.

I am a forgetful gardener at best. I’ve never gotten it quite right. I know to put things in the ground in the Spring, but the weekly rhythm of tending to plants just seems beyond me. And today, to be honest, I feel out of rhythm, out of season. This return to online learning, even for a week, has brought back the old anxieties (without the comfort of streaming episodes of The Office to try to ignore them).

So, I took Katie outside and we planted bulbs.

And we prayed Douglas Kaine McElvey’s “Liturgy for the Planting of Flowers” in his book Every Moment Holy.

I asked, “In a world shadowed by cruelty, violence and loss, is there good reason for the planting of flowers?”

Katie responded, “Ah, yes! For these bursts of color and beautiful blooms are bright dabs of grace, witnesses to a promise… They are like a banner planted on a hilltop, proclaiming God’s right ownership of these lands… They are a warrant and a witness, each blossom shouting from the earth that death is a lie, that beauty and immortality are what we were made for.”

We planted bulbs and I was called back to belief that God’s promises are truer than my darkest days would have me think.

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