It was late Sunday afternoon when I was walking around the garden… checking to see which plants survived the latest “Arctic Blast” while I was away at Pawleys.
Surprisingly, the majority of the plants and bulbs looked quite confident in their ability to keep jumping over the “waves” of Old Man Winter’s last big “puffs” of frigid air. The bulbs and seedlings seem to know that if they can just hang a little longer…it will all be worth it in the near future when they bloom.
As I started towards one side of the garden…suddenly the sun (who had been playing a game of peek-or-boo all day)….cast its final beams of sunlight across the garden…turning everything into speckled pieces of glittering gold. I gasped in delight and slowly turned around to see the last glimpse of the big yellow “halo” sinking in the west.
‘God is taking a well-deserved rest‘ I thought… but then remembered that the sun was just beginning to rise somewhere else in the world… so there was no rest for God…a new day was breaking “out there.” God was on constant watch for all His children around the world.
Before I could put up all the garden paraphernalia the stars were already beginning to twinkle… and through the bare branches of my Bradford pear tree I could see the outline of the moon forming.
Even though the moon was fuller than a “new moon” I couldn’t help but recall Archibald Rutledge’s remembrances (at Hampton Plantation) of watching the workers fall down on their knees and give a blessing (for being present to see another new moon arise) each month. They did not take life for granted but thanked God every day and especially each month for the new moon symbolizing life and re-birth.
Don’t we have a tendency, while watching the vastness of the universe, through a star-filled sky, to think about God being “out there” somewhere? We put Him in some remote corner of the universe and regard Him as an on-looker rather than a constant participant… Someone close-at-hand?
But I know differently now about “Someone close-at-hand.” On a toss-turning night in May of 2008, I discovered, for myself, just how close God really is to us. Two days earlier I had been told I had breast cancer and must have surgery immediately. The next day was spent getting all kinds of tests run. Then I was told I must be at the hospital no later than 6:00 a.m. because I would need another blood transfusion before surgery…I was extremely anemic.
My brother had rushed to Summerville, upon hearing the news, to spend the night so he could take me to the hospital early the next morning. I couldn’t sleep…everything was happening so quickly that I had not had time to process it yet. (I am a big “processor” …I need time to digest potential life-altering changes and slowly filter the information within.)
I was doing a “woulda, coulda, shoulda” number on myself, I remember, that night. Did my will need updating…I meant to save and do this or that improvement to the house. My daughter’s wedding had just taken place a couple of weeks earlier…but what about the boys…would I live to see them married…would I live to see grandchildren… or was this it?
The number one “refrain” thought in my mind that night was “Help me God…I just don’t know what to do.” And that is when it happened. Out of the darkness…I heard a voice saying “Hold My Hand.”
Startled I looked around in the darkness but saw no one. I even got up to check on my brother in the guest bedroom…he was sound asleep. There was no one else in the house…or so I thought.
“Hold my Hand”….this time the words spoken were more forceful and demanding. There was no one in the room…how could I hold Someone’s Hand? The third and final voice was soft and gentle…”Hold my Hand.”
I held my hand up in the air and felt this sense of peace envelope me like no other sensation I had ever felt. I remember cupping my hand together and almost immediately falling asleep.
When my brother, Ben, awakened me the next morning I remember scurrying to the bathroom to brush my teeth and realizing (as I tried to put toothpaste on my brush) that my fingers were so tightly knit that I had to pry each finger open.
I didn’t know what the future held…but that sense of peace stayed with me because I now knew I was not on this journey alone. God would hold my hand through it all…and to date that is exactly how it has played out.
(I have lived long enough to see another marriage, my middle child Walsh to Mollie, and see my youngest son, Tommy, find Kaitlyn to share their journey together. I now have three grandchildren, Eva Cate, Rutledge, and Jakie…and am anticipating the fourth grandchild’s arrival in the imminent future.) * Not to mention the four “grand-dogs” Tigger, Poogan, Rudy, and Atticus.
Look what I would have missed out on…with all my ‘extending’ family…if things had not gone well with that first surgery (I would never have met my grandchildren or Mollie or Kaitlyn)….but, instead, I hung on tight to God’s Hand and He has never let go.
Since Creation… God has been a “hands-on” participant from Adam and Eve to His Son, Jesus Christ. He is here for every birth, trial and tribulation through life, and death.
God is not “out there”…He resides in each of us…He is “in here” and as close as the next beat of our heart.
So until tomorrow…let us remember that the heavens, earth, the world and all that is in it belong to God. (Psalm 89:11) We belong to God Who resides in us.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
* I had a beautiful comment from my former student and later/supporter/mentor at the district office….Shelly Baker (concerning the last two blog entries on the friendship retreat.) Shelly nailed the essence of the importance of life-long friends who know us better than ourselves. It is so beautiful!
You have life so figured out! What a blessing to have lifelong friends with which to gather & just be authentic Becky. As we get older, there is something so special about being with friends that knew you as a young girl. It makes you feel like that girl again, which is pure tonic to the soul. So happy for you to have & enjoy such a full life, you deserve every minute of it! Xoxo
* Snow Day Comes Early for Rutledge!
Sunday afternoon, while Mollie was folding clothes in the bedroom Rutledge managed to get a bottom cabinet open and pull out a bag of flour…it spilled all over the sofa and floor.
Mollie was so proud of him playing so quietly by himself to give her time to finish her task. She kept calling out (as she heard him making truck sounds) “Are you still playing with your trucks Rut?” Rutledge always answered “Yes!”… so you can only imagine the shock when Mollie realized what had kept him so preoccupied (when she witnessed the scene)…running his dump trucks through the “snow.”