Hello Dear Readers,
Welcome back! I want to share something that happened to me several years ago. On a spring day, I attended a half-day women’s retreat at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. If you’ve not been to the Chicago Botanic Gardens, it is a lush, green, stunningly beautiful place to walk and wander amid the scent of the flowers and plants surrounding you. I highly recommend it as a place of quiet meditation, or as a place to contemplate nature at its manicured finest!
Anyway…about a dozen women met there at 9:00 am. We chatted together for a bit then were sent off to write down our thoughts in several areas of the Gardens. We met back at 10:00 am and then again at 11:00 am to share our thoughts. Then we met at noon in the cafeteria for lunch and wrap-up.
At one point in the morning, we were sent off to find a quiet place to to sit and pray and then to pick a question out of our retreat booklet to answer. I chose: “What type of a plant are you.” I thought, “What is this Barbara Walters?” It was one of her favorite questions when interviewing celebrities. (Actually it was, “What kind of a tree are you?”) Here is what I wrote after my prayer time:
“In the precious garden where God’s human’s handiwork is seen, where do you see you? Are you the prairie grass standing tall, stretching up and up to praise God and feel the warmth of the Son? Do you bend gently with the wind in joy at your freedom? Do you bend sharply in the bluster of winter?”
“Who are you?”
“Are you the willow, long and slender, reaching up for the heavens, then dropping down to caress the waters of the earth? Do you dance and sway to nature’s music?”
“What, in nature, are you?”
“Are you the rose, vermillion in your beauty and splendor? Do you bloom under God’s watchful eye, pleasing those around you and hiding your prickles in shadows?”
“Me? I am the English Oak. Solid…sturdy…stocky. Yes, I bend with the wind, I, too, dance and sway for my creator. But my roots go down deep. My roots grow down, down, down into the solid packed earth, gripping rocks and soil to stay rooted. Rooted in God’s Word.”
“In God’s garden, there is room for all. Each of us on our own path, yet each of us is designed as part of one plan. Too small and busy are we to see the whole garden, but we can believe the One who holds the whole garden in his hands.”
That’s it, and believe it now more than ever. If we are just content to bloom where we are planted and then trust God for the rest, we live our lives in perfect peace. I am where I am because of God’s plan and my own choices. And right here and right now God can use me for his purposes. And wants to use me AND you, too.
And here’s the miracle: when we gathered back to share which question we had chosen the ladies read, one by one, the question they had chosen and their thoughts and meditations. When it came to my turn, I kept flipping back and forth to find the question that I had answered. (“What type of a plant are you?”) Hmmm…even though I had read and reread that question many times in my meditation, it was nowhere to be found in the retreat booklet. God let me see the question that I needed to answer. I am still humbled and in awe of this simple gift God gave to me on that morning. God is good!
Blessings, my peeps.
PS: I rejoined the Rec Center and plan to meet my friend Joan there three days a week to walk. I know I could step out my door and walk, but with the heat of summer and the poor walking condition that I am in, the Rec Center is a better option. I can do a lap and then sit to recover, then walk another lap, sit to recover, etc… Also I have started planning better meals and cooking with purpose again. And on Saturday I will make my first Indian dish, “Indian Chicken Curry-Quick and Easy” recipe by Veruca Spice. Check out the website at http://www.verucaspice.com. Really good stuff for expanding the palate!