Faithful Living: Stop and appreciate faithfulness

Now is the high-tide of the year,

and whatever of life hath ebbed away

comes flooding back with ripply cheer.

Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,

We are happy now, because God wills it.

--James Russell Lowell

Fifteen years ago when my husband and I began putting in a yard and designing flowerbeds, we designated one location exclusively for roses as we had experienced great success raising them at our previous home and could not imagine this home without them. After walking around the house numerous times and watching the movement of the sun throughout the day, we chose a spot in our yard that gets a nice dose of afternoon sunshine. We knew the blooms would appreciate the warmth. We then headed for a local nursery, charmed by the abundance of colors and names like President Lincoln, Queen Elizabeth, John F. Kennedy and Lucille Ball. Eventually we set our bushes in the ground, envisioning the day we would see blooms through the bay window in our dining room. It seemed like a nice touch, bringing the outside in.

This week as I vacuumed that same dining room I turned around and startled at the sight — nicely pruned bushes ablaze with colorful blooms so inviting I had to abandon my housekeeping to grab a pair of scissors and a vase. Outside I dashed to press my nose into intricately scented blossoms and take in their fragrance. I then stood back in awe at what had taken place right there, in the back of the house that rarely catches my notice and I attempt to manage career and family matters. My husband had pruned the bushes in early spring and God had sent the rain and sun to do the rest: creating roses to remind me that He is beautiful, faithful, and . . . well . . . busy, even when I choose to be way too occupied to notice.

Every February I fortify myself with visions of this week—the first week of summer when the days are warm and long. During the last 15 Februarys, in fact, I have looked out upon the gray, the wind and the rain, only to envision a day such as we had this week when we were able to push open our windows in the early morning and listen to the songs of the birds and the frogs. To peruse barbecue recipes and plan get-togethers with friends out in the warm air. To cut roses and bring them inside.

It turns out that I am not the only one who looks forward to this week. Europeans celebrate Midsummer’s Night on June 23 with what Simple Abundance writer Sarah Breathnach describers as activities that include high-spirited merrymaking and lightheartedness. Reading between the lines, I can only imagine such frivolity. But the near tragedy of all this came to me this week, right out in the yard as I gingerly balanced roses temporarily stuffed into a vase and a pair of scissors. With horror I realized that I had nearly missed this glorious week and all it promised me last February because I was so intent on checking tasks off the task list on my Palm Pilot.

There is a message in these lightly-colored orange roses that now sit in a vase beside my computer: God is faithful. He keeps creating those buds and growing them in spite of me and what is happening in my life. So it is with confidence that I look at their beauty this week and remember,

I have a friend who is going through a difficult divorce, but God is faithful.

I must say good bye and feel the deep sadness of separation as one of the best friends to have graced my life must move away, but God is faithful.

I have a friend who has lost her job and worries about redefining her career path, but God is faithful.

My mother is struggling at moments with the challenges of managing rheumatoid arthritis, but God is faithful.

My young neighbor is suffering with the after-effects of a catastrophic sports injury, but God is faithful.

I worry about how much freedom to give my teenagers, but God is faithful.

I have a friend, recently widowed, who profoundly misses her husband and his companionship, but God is faithful.

There is no magic wand to take away our worries, but there is a God of great beauty and faithfulness, to watch over us. Let’s not choose to be too busy to notice.

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