A Prayer for Rain

My mind is clouded with smoke.  Embers of sadness pull at me, while the miserably hot, windy days continue to come and go.

Colorado is aflame.

The images of trees exploding instantly into flame haunt me.  Evacuation orders for entire towns make my stomach churn with worry.  And the images of over 250 homeless families, sleeping on makeshift cots, displaced with only ashes remaining of their homes and their entire life’s belongings makes my heart hurt.

Entire tracts of land, mountains and hills left with only a black, ashy scar of what once was.  Trees, grass and wildlife only a distant memory now, something we will not see recover in our lifetimes.

All I can offer is a prayer for rain.  I have no other option but to beg Him to quietly send moisture to fall upon our dry land, calming the smoke, the flames and the hurt.

Dear Lord,

Bless us with some relief from the drought, the fires and the smoke
That threaten these places we love, Oh Lord.
Cover this burning land with a blanket of your clouds,
Releasing raindrops to give life back to this dry land,
Let their cool wetness calm the smoke, the flames and the hurt in our hearts.
Fill our rivers, from trickles to streams again.
Quell the winds, even momentarily, to deflect the flames
To push them back in their tracks, instead of hurtling them forward.
Provide us with tools to put the roar of these fires out.

Bless, Oh Lord, those families who find themselves homeless,
Empty, heartbroken with loss and overwhelmed,
Give them hope that You will provide for them those things they need.
Bless them with sweet memories of their homes and land
And give them a sense of peace and renewal,
To face each new day with strength, courage
And gratitude for even the smallest of blessings along the way.

Watch over those fighting on the front lines,
Bless them with cool relief in the face of a scalding enemy,
Bless them with rest to reinvigorate them to continue fighting,
Bless them with hope that their fight is not in vain,
And as impossible as it may seem, give them faith that it is possible.
Hold them closely and keep them safe, Oh Lord, in their battles.

And with the fast fury of the flames approaching,
Remind us of Your powerful presence, and Your ability to calm them.
With the tall, billowing plumes of smoke,
Remind us of the hope You give us for the future.
With the temporary quieting of hot, unrelenting winds,
Remind us that all things are possible through You.
And with the feeling of overwhelming loss,
Remind us that all things grow again through you, Oh Lord.

When All That Remains is a Memory

Memorial Day weekend.  I expected the tributes to our troops, both current and past, and the deep thankfulness that you cannot help but feel for our hard-earned freedom.  Red, white and blue flags flying, headstones marked with crosses, flowers and tears.  What I didn’t expect, was to find myself contemplating memories on death, loss and the hand-picked timing of certain moments in life.  I found myself grieving, quieted by a once-familiar place, now darkened with long lasting scars, and only the stark skeletons of what once was.

I guess I hadn’t been there since the fire.

Photo courtesy of Drew Smith via www.panoramio.com

Trapper’s Lake and the dirt county road leading to it was a place we frequented growing up.  Pulling a cream and green “Wilderness” camper, loaded down with fishing poles, a hibachi barbecuer, Shasta Cream Soda and large amounts of excitement, our family would find ourselves heading up to go camping almost all summer long.  The little county road seemed to go on forever then, clouds of dry dust following us the last part of the way, surrounded on both sides by mountains, pine trees, quaking aspens and the rare  glimpse of a shimmering, snow-fed creek.

Our weekends were spent hiking under the canopy of pine forests, being swallowed by the sweet scent of pine trees in bloom and fishing in excruciatingly cold, clear volcanic-formed lakes.  We loved this beautiful place that was right in our back yard.

I guess that’s why I found myself grieving so palpably over the weekend.

Photo courtesy of Drew Smith via Panoramio.com

I had no idea that the wildfire that took place nearly ten years ago, would still have as fresh a scar on the land, as if it had just happened a few years ago.  The mountains looked scraped bare, with only dry dirt there where the beautiful pines once stood, where spring rains and winter runoff would have fed the once-dense green brush and undergrowth.  All that remained were skeletons.  Sharp ghosts swaying with the cold wind, hundreds, thousands of other skeletons fallen in shards at their feet in a nasty, tangled mess of a larger-than-life game of Pick-up-Sticks.

Instead of the breeze singing through soft needled branches, the wind screeched and hissed now, whistling through their gnarled bones and around this ghost town of dead trees, their burned forms standing as tombstones for the fallen, now only a memory.

Ten years after the Big Fish fire near Trapper’s Lake

I was out of college, living two hundred miles away, when I first read their words.  A Letter to the Editor published in our little Rio Blanco Herald Times, that would never let me forget.  That would, from that day forward, always cause me to think upon timing, upon moments, and upon God’s big plan.

Dear Editor,

What a sense of loss and despair.  Trappers Lake is a very special place to a lot of people, for a lot of reasons.  While living in the Yampa Valley my family got to know Trappers Lake, to know the meaning of what a special place does to one’s soul.

We moved to Texas seven years ago and my son always asked if we could return to Trappers Lake some day.  I told him “sure and we’ll go there many times together.”  My son died last summer at the age of 21.

My wife and I brought his ashes back to Trappers Lake this summer.   It is his favorite place on Earth and that’s where he should be.

We stayed at Trappers Lake Lodge Resort on this recent trip and made reservations for our return next summer.  Years past we had camped in the campgrounds but enjoyed this stay at the lodge.  Our mind set was not focused on the camping experiences we normally enjoy, rather the personal emotions and continued feeling of loss with our son’s passing.

The experience of placing a loved one into the environment they so love the most for eternal rest is comforting but yet so difficult.  You go through the grieving all over again but it is the same grieving you never stopped experiencing.  The sense of loss is tremendous but you know you are doing the right thing.  With that comes some sense of acceptance.

Our last night at Trappers Lake Lodge Resort was fraught with many sudden awakenings from the lightning and heavy rains.  It was quite eventful that night and we were glad to see some rains returning to the high country.  We got up very early that morning, went down to our canoe on the lake for a short paddle and wet a few flies.  We marveled at the rain-cleared sky, no longer saturated with the Lost Lake fire smoke.  The reflection of the Amphitheater on a still glass lake surface left no doubt our Creator has a plan. 

It mattered not the fish would not rise to our imitations, we were in the presence of an awesome experience and were touched deep in our souls.  One day too we both will return to be with our son in this awesome place crafted by the hand of God.  My wife and I said our last goodbyes to our son and departed this special placed called Trappers Lake.

As we left the lodge we got only a short distance down the road when we saw the smoke from a new fire.  It was nothing large, looked like the smoke billowing from a cabin chimney on an autumn day.  That was Big Fish Canyon and that was Saturday morning the 20th of July.  The morning after the birth of this fire.  How could we know what was to come?  How could we anticipate what we read and hear now about this place so distant yet so close to our hearts?  How could we imagine the destruction to the buildings we had only just left?

We couldn’t, just as we could never have thought we would ever experience the great loss of a child, a son, a friend and companion in all life’s experiences.  What a sense of loss and despair we feel and share with you.

Richard and Cindy Scott

From the Rio Blanco Herald Times, August 29th, 2002

I don’t know them.  But I hope one day to tell them what a profound effect their Letter to the Editor in our local newspaper had on me.  Now, even ten years later, I cannot read their beautifully thought-out words without feeling my chest tighten and my eyes blur with tears.

Photo courtesy of Drew Smith via Panoramio.com

They experienced not only the loss of their son, but then the terrible loss of this place that held so many happy memories.  A place held dear with memories surely of laughter, gentle lapping lake water, cutthroats with their bold red markings darting in the dark shadows of the creek, cool nighttime falling quickly under the shadows of the mountains, the fresh, crisp forest air of evening, and the immense blanket of a million glimmering stars just overhead, feeling close enough to reach out and touch.

I knew about the fire all those years ago, but I hadn’t “felt” it.  I had read about it, I had heard about it, but I hadn’t yet seen it with my own eyes.  And now, all these years later, I finally felt my heart heavy with grief for a place so special, so beautiful.

And this Memorial Day, I remembered the great loss that these strangers felt and must still feel for their son.   God’s hand holding them as He brought them back to this place one last time, only Him knowing that just days after they spent their last night there, it too would be gone, smoldering with only the memory of what once stood.

Just a Spot of Sunshine

My cats are attracted to them.

Just a spot of sunshine is all they need.  A shining place to curl up and be embraced by the bright warmth, to be coaxed into a sleepy nap.  They have a knack for finding them —  those sometimes out-of-the-way spots of bright light that have been cast just beyond a chair or up next to a wall.  Or even on top of a turquoise flip flop.

Do you have a little spot of sunshine?  It may be a special place.  A pond lined with cattail bird roosts and fuzzy-budded willows.  A velvety chenille blanket, a mug of steaming coffee and a riveting book.  Or maybe an old truck, rusted on the outside, its aged seatcovers still scented sharply with gasoline and musty sweat on the inside.

Two spots of sunshine, in the form of my nephews.

.

Maybe it’s a special person.  A grandson that hugs you with his whole being on legs that never seem to stop running.  A friend made long ago, separated now by years and distance, that you can start up with again right where you left off years ago.  Maybe that spot of sunshine is someone who can make you laugh and giggle, no matter the situation.

.

Where are you drawn, like cats to sunny spots?  Where do you go to feel safely embraced with warmth and happiness? What is your little spot of sunshine?

My sunny spot consists of gravel paths leading through slightly raised beds, a blooming haven of bumble bees, hummingbirds and usually a napping kitty or two.  It is a place that feels like home to me.  I built its borders with river rocks, handpicked out of a big pile, leveled edge to edge, to create a meandering free form outline on the very back of my new home’s lot.  I turned the hard clay soil within these river rocks, then hand-screened, shovel-full by shovel-full, new soil to fill them up.  Then I turned the dirt again.

And as I planted my very first bare root peonies that fall, I also waged war on the weeds that had traveled to my new flower beds via the hand-screened dirt.  It was hard.  It was tedious.  But I knew in my heart that one day it would be a sunny spot for me, in more ways than one.

It’s my sunny spot all winter as I peruse my perennial plant catalogs, dreaming of all the possibilities that exist.  It’s my sunny spot in the spring as I watch what started as little seeds of hope last fall, curl a brand new leaf open to the sun.  It’s my sunny spot all summer as I relish in the fruits of my labor.  Flowers blooming, bees humming and beautiful energy rising from its colorful bursts, bouquets of fragrant blooms abound.  And it’s my sunny spot in the fall as I watch my hard working plants slowly cower down to rest, and I plant new seeds, tubers, rhizomes and roots of hope for next spring.

I’ve celebrated warm Friday evenings there with a beer in hand.  I’ve sat on its graveled path, crushed and broken, embraced by only coneflowers, bee balm and black-eyed susans.  Salty tears dripping onto the soil that gives these plants life.  I’ve smiled there and I’ve cried there.  But no matter the clouds in the sky, my little spot is always sunny.

Never underestimate the power of a sunny spot.

Those special places in our lives have the power to give us rest when beaten down. They have the energy to reinvigorate us, to help us rise up and conquer those obstacles we may have in front of us.

The also can have the calm presence to just encourage us forward, slowly, quietly and subtly.  Giving us a gentle hand on our shoulder to let us know we can do it, that life doesn’t always require us to fight with a roar, but maybe to just have the courage to continue on again tomorrow.

Questions Without Answers

Where am I going?  Why am I doing this?  What is all this for?  And should I have the answers to these questions?

If you haven’t noticed by my lack of regular posts over the past couple of weeks, I seem to have come upon a complete lack of inspiration.  The weather is nice, my garden is slowly growing, but I’ve found myself unable to find even the smallest, tiniest tidbits of inspiration throughout my days.  Just last night, the town herd of deer even stole my latest bit of inspiration:  the hardy geranium in my concrete planter that had happily covered itself in fuzzy, new leaves.  Overnight, its beautiful leafed shaped was transformed into an unexpected buzz cut.  All that remains are a few nubs of stems, not a leaf in sight.  Forget a tip for that hairdresser!  So even this, my latest hint of inspiration, was chewed off in the middle of the night as I slept.

One of the things that I’ve really learned by muddling my way through creating a blog is that it has caused me to literally slow down, to remember things, to experience things.  A snowflake on my nose, the smell of wet bales of winter hay, even the recent landing of a sparkling jewel of a winged insect upon my arm one warm afternoon.  But lately, it seems I’m struggling for anything worthy of writing about or sharing with others.  What is my goal?  And, do I need a goal?

All it seems I can offer is a life filled with daily struggles, lessons (hopefully learned), cause for laughter here and there and little seeds of inspiration which can be found always, if you just look close enough.

My Dad asked me the question a few weekends ago and it was funny timing, because I had been secretly asking myself the exact same question of myself the week before.  He asked me what I hoped to get out of blogging and writing, or where I hoped it would take me.  The honest truth is:  I don’t know.  But something is encouraging me, leading me to continue on.   It is pulling me along blindly without that final destination on the radar.  So, I’ve offered it up to God.

It reminded me of something I had read that had encouraged my soul a few years ago.  It was a just a short essay written by The Rev. Spencer Carr entitled, “Who is God Calling You to Be?”  I had somewhat grudgingly read through it, not all too inspired by the title or its introduction.  But something urged me on and in the final paragraphs of the essay, I read words that had a really profound effect on my heart.  The author was in his fifties and was questioning his call to pursue ordination into the priesthood at such a late stage in his life.

“Does it really make sense, I asked, for me already in my 50s, to invest the time (and money!) to become a priest?  And the Rev. Canon Bert Womack answered me, ‘As far as we know, God may be calling you to be a priest for just one single task at one particular moment.’  I came to see that if God was calling me to be a priest, it was just as important for me to say yes then as it would be at any other time in my life.”

It caused me to reflect on the concept that our lives may have many significant moments, but our purpose in doing something may just be one moment at one particular time.  All your preparing, all your living, loving and losing may be for just one, singular moment.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

Will you be ready for your moment when it comes?  Will you cherish it, realizing that it was what you had been molded for over the course of your entire lifetime?  Or will you discard it as merely circumstantial?

Your job, your volunteer activities, your recreation, your friends, your enemies all may be preparing you, and even if it is just one moment of opportunity, your life brings you to these exact moments.  It has prepared you to change the course of life, either your own or someone else’s.  It is hard to grasp that a lifetime may be all about one moment, one chance, one opportunity.  And doesn’t that give it the mysterious, and very real potential to slip away so easily?  To disappear quickly without a second’s notice.  To never have even realized that it was the moment you were meant for?

So, as I return from a short little writing hiatus, I may not know where this little blog of mine will take me, or what new friends it may connect me to through the world of technology or who’s heart it may touch one morning as the sun rises but I feel something pulling me, encouraging me to continue on.

 

 

 

“When you feel that inner pull – Go for it!  Be the person that God is calling you to be.  And do it with whatever time and strength you may have left in which to live out your calling.”

Who is God calling you to be?  What is He encouraging you to do each day?  We may not understand it now, but we can have faith He is leading us to a series of moments.  Very important moments, big or small as they may be.  Moments that a lifetime has lead us to and prepared us for.  And a chance to do the very special, unique work He has given us to do.

May you feel encouraged, even when the road is winding and the sun’s glimmer fades to empty darkness.  When you question where the next bend will take you, or wonder why and how you ended up on this rocky, uphill path — Never give up, but know that you are quietly being led where you need to go.  It may not be an easy path, but it is the only path.  And to very special, important moments it will lead you.

Searching for Signs of Life

It started with the red wine shoots of peonies, pushing up with Goliath-like strength from below the ground.  Raising whole areas of dirt above them as if doing push ups with the Earth itself.

It was this sudden appearance which led to my daily policing of the walkways through my flower garden.  Scouring, searching for signs of life.  I patrolled carefully and slowly, looking for any hint of green newness sprouting amid the dirt.

Have you ever sought one thing in life, and when looking closer, found something much different?  Sometimes the things we think we are looking for are simply the crumbs along the path leading us to discover things that we could have never expected.

I found my Raspberry Wine Monarda had been growing over the winter, with a much larger footprint in my garden than last summer.  I found myself feeling excited, then worried with its aggression, and thankful I had picked a fairly large area to plant it just a year and a half ago.  If I’m not careful, I may find myself with a flower garden consisting of only bee balm!

A humble daffodil stem suddenly pregnant with the swelling of a flower bud within one of its green leaves.  Then another appeared, then another.  I couldn’t wait for the birth of their yellow, double-ruffled offspring, their due dates surely just days away.

Spikes of purple Siberian iris leaves jut out in a large clump in the middle of my garden. Their sharp-shaped leaves cutting a bold silhouette against the blue spring sky.

Clumps of salvia began stretching their new leaves upward.  Beautiful, new zig-zag edged leaves as if cut out carefully with a pair of pinking shears.  I dreamed of the deep purple depth they add to my garden, their tall spires luring bees nearly all summer.

Like fluffy marshmallows halfway buried within the dirt, I spied the very tops of my Asiatic lilies pushing their air-puffed way out into the sunshine.

Max found my catmint clump sprouting new leaves and without restraint he began rolling, biting, sniffing and scratching at the plant’s brand new growth.  Such is the curious attraction between kitties and catmint.  Without the full dose he’s able to ingest and inhale during the summer months, the new sprouts didn’t sedate him into a sleepy, curled nap.  We’ll save those catmint induced naps for summer’s sluggish afternoons.

Even within the dense remains of last summer’s stems, I saw a brand new green curl of an Echinacea leaf squeezing forth.  I was already dreaming of their happy, summer blooms swaying in my garden with bees humming around them busily.

Around a corner I even saw buds on my Ash Leaf spirea bush.  Sharp, red-edged green leaves uncurling slowly upon branches still grey with winter.

That initial sighting of my first peony pushing up out of the dirt prompted a full-scale search for other signs of life within my garden.  Searching and expecting to find some things, and instead stumbling upon other discoveries seems such a fitting metaphor for the week ahead.  As we begin the final week leading up to glorious Easter, what have you found yourself searching for?

After Jesus’ death upon the cross, followers probably thought the search was over.  Despite taunts from the crowd, there was no visible miraculous rescue from his torturous death upon the cross, no angels swooping him up and into the heavens for all to witness, no ground breaking rumble of thunder to shake him free of the stakes piercing his hands and ankles.  It was all over. Nothing more to hope for.  Even Christ himself cried to God:

  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”      Mark 15:34

However, Mary and Mary Magdalene quietly sought out His fateful tomb three days later to prepare and anoint His body respectfully.  As they must have timidly approached the tomb that morning, with the sun still low and pink the sky, they were expecting to find a tomb blocked by a rock, shrouding the death of their beloved within.  They must have wondered, impossibly, how they would move that giant rock away.

But where they were expecting death, they instead found life.  In the form of a rock moved away, an empty tomb and a risen Christ, they found life that would be everlasting.

So during the upcoming week, may you seek and find new life.  An everlasting life through Christ, who died so that we might be forgiven.  Sacrificed so that we might be saved.  Betrayed, punished, beaten, humiliated, spat upon, taunted, cursed and crowned with thorns so that we might live eternally.  May this week inspire you to seek and find, to hope and believe that life continues, even when it may seem to have ended.

And just like in my little flower garden, may you search and be happily amazed at the life growing both around you and within you.  And may the hope of things to come, ever inspire you to continue seeking, for your reward lies in faith that there is life beyond this earthly garden.

 

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  2 Cor. 4:17-18

Shadows in the Garden

Weeds.  Their creeping tendrils surfaced with the snow’s fast melt recently.  They are still there, making faces and sticking their tongues out at me, laughing at my theory that winter would kill them.

I was hoping to spare myself of a little weeding work at the end of the last growing season, relying on a cold, hard winter to do the work for me.  While I was busy watching my crocus’ sprout and bloom over the past couple of weeks, I had been ignoring the other things that were growing in my garden.  The bad weeds that I had neglected to pull last fall, had suddenly turned green and seemed to have doubled in size with the past week’s warm days.

No, not a weed! This is one of my favorites: Coreopsis (Tickseed) "Jethro Tull" -- is abloom all summer with these beautiful, fluted, sunny yellow petals.

It became obvious that, while my perennials are slowly growing and expanding their rooted footholds all winter . . . so are the weeds that escaped pulling in the fall.  The good plants relished in a little downtime to extend their reach in my gardens, but so did the bad.   Why is it we can’t have one without the other?  The good without the bad?  The bright and beautiful without the dark and threatening?

I sometimes wonder whether we can fully appreciate the “good” in the world without being witness to the bad.  Do we need the bad as a sort of litmus test for what is truly good and how good it can be in comparison?

We live in a world where comparison has become the staple of our social lives. Facebook has risen as a harbinger of outdoing one another.  It has become a platform to showcase families that are more perfect than imaginable, children that are smarter and wittier than others and friends that are truer, closer, funnier and more exciting than could have been expected.  Even the pets flitter precariously close to what can only be deemed pooch perfection.  It becomes a soapbox of perfection.  A sprint that we all had no idea we were in for when we first signed up for Facebook.

You know them.  They’re the ones that inadvertently make you feel your meager life is unworthy of even being accepted into the Facebook world.  The ones that make you feel you can surely never attain that level of perfection in family, friends, children and pets.  We all know them.

Life is construed as perfect, on all accounts.   But life is never perfect.  Just like in my little flower garden, the weeds will continue to sprout and grow if left untended.  Eventually, the bad could have the power to overtake my garden, strangling my flowers, squeezing the life out of them, taking over more and more of my garden.  So while we must take time to promote the good, to feed, water and sow them carefully, we must also take the time to fight the bad, with patience, stamina and continued vigilance.

As we work to grow our spiritual lives, isn’t the bad just outside, waiting for us to leave the door to our hearts unlocked for just a moment?  It sneaks in unnoticed, lurking in the dark corners of our minds, creeping along the walls of our hearts with the day’s shadows, waiting patiently.  We’ll never rid the shadows from our lives.  They will be there, waiting and watching for a chance to slip in, waiting for us to give in to their tempting for just a moment.

And just like the weeds that grew silently and unnoticed in my garden all winter, they will arise one day when we’re weakest, hoping to capitalize on the fertilizer, mulch and water we’ve provided for our cherished blooms.  The weeds will always be there.  We’ll pull them, and they’ll return. We’ll leave their roots upended to burn under the sun, but somehow another will spring up again quickly in its place.  They are a constant in my garden just like they will be a constant in life.

The good news is that we have control over the bad, all it takes is a little sweat, a few tools of the trade in our belt and the patient solace to understand that our “pulling” will never be done.  And when we come to understand that we are each destined for a lifetime of weeding, pulling and thwarting the bad, we can finally take joy in the everyday toil that results in a blooming garden of good.

Spring’s Brave Dream

There’s just something about the first.  The first fuzzy bud on a branch.  The first green leaf uncoiling.  The first shoot bravely sprouting out of the ground.  The first sweet, swelling stem, followed miraculously by a first bloom.

Spring is full of firsts.  Miracles that seem to arise out of nowhere.

I had been taking note of my newly-visible crocus sprouts pushing their way out of the cool dirt.  I hadn’t been watching closely enough, it turns out, because without warning, the thin, grass-like stalks suddenly burst into beautiful purple bloom.  I hadn’t even noticed a bud.  No hint, no announcement, no memo.  They had completely succeeded in their failure to alert me to their impending fragile beauty.

Isn’t this sometimes the best surprise?  The ones you don’t even see coming, the ones that blindside you with their perfect simplicity?  There was no anticipation.  No time to even consider how beautifully they may bloom, or what shade of purple they may be.  They simply turned their grass-like stalks toward the sunshine and opened their hidden petals, reveling in only their own unfurling, unconcerned with the pressures or deadlines of anxiously awaiting gardeners.

When it’s your time, will you bloom happily in your garden?  Or will you give in to the worldly expectations surrounding you, blooming too early, being bitten by the cold frost?   Or will you wait just a little too long to follow your dreams, your blooms attacked and wilted quickly by the hot sun?

For fifty one weeks out of the year, they prepare.  Absorbing life from the soil around them, and dreaming of one day opening their petalled windows upward, allowing the sky’s brilliant blue to flood their delicate petals.  They dream.  They hope.  They have silent faith in that perfect spring day so far off, where they will have no choice but to bloom in celebration of the promise that is life.

We, too, have a promise in this life.  We are given seeds, soil and sunlight.  We are also given responsibility.  The responsibility to love others and to have faith in something invisible and larger than ourselves.  Like my crocus bulbs, we must grow and swell with love, hoping blindly that the day will come, when we will be hand-picked, lifted out of the cool soil to bloom in the glorious light that ends this life, and begins an unexpected brilliant new life in an eternal garden.

So take this time to prepare, to grow, to absorb and to hope.  After what may seem like an insurmountable lifetime of pain, hurt, frustrations and unanswered prayers, one day we just might awaken above these worldly afflictions, to find that we are abloom in a brand new place.  We may find that our humble week of bloom time will far exceed the months of frost, snow, rain, mud and heat we have endured.  All the pain and hurt will be worth it, for as we open our eyes to the world above us, we will have no choice but to allow the warm sunshine to penetrate our hearts.

May we all have faith that our day of full bloom isn’t far off, and is coaxed ever closer by our faithful growth, the slowly warming earth around us and the brave dream of sprouting into the unknown world above us.