The Ping

At this time of year, I'm on the hunt for garden plants.

On the way to take my place in the pick-up line, I 
swoop through the garden area of every local market. 

After driving to the county library, it's easy to
take a quick trip through the feed store plant section.

A fast in-and-out at the swank florist is convenient 
when it's so near the grocery. We always need milk!

 Last week I found an interesting display of lawn decorations 
at the local home improvement retailer.
I ask you, why would anyone want a fake hydrant in their yard? 
I have enough problems with dogs using my front flower beds as their
poop town of choice. If I put this out there ... they might think they're invited!
(You know about Go, Dog. Go! don't you ...? They're just looking 
for a place to party.)
This angel with a price tag around her neck, gilded with buttery morning light 
stopped me cold, right between the hanging baskets and the rows of vegetable seedlings.
 Maybe it was the angel's reverent posture that held my attention.
Her smiling assurance of victory ahead made me bend down to peer into her face. 

Something about this hunk of cement-ish plastic reminded me of the holy, 
surrounded by the ordinariness of a garden store. 
The sight of it was like a ping from heaven, 
reminding me that there are more important concerns at 8 a.m. 
on any given Tuesday than finding the best deal on a cell pack of petunias. 

The Westminster Catechism translates the ping:
What is the chief end of man?
To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

I find myself so often carried away in the distractions of life; the crazy, 
circular insanity of the mundane becomes my specialty, as if there is nothing else.
Glorifying God is pushed to the edge, forgotten. 

Then He pings me, and I remember where I am, 
who is in charge, and what is important.
I'm so thankful for that!


Weeping Willow

We bought this weeping willow tree in 1998.
I'm the one that bought it, although most of our purchases do involve a 'we'.
It was intended to be a birthday present for my husband's 
thirty-fifth birthday. A week before the big day, 
I bought and stashed it behind the shed, knowing I had found the
 perfect gift - a tree he had always admired and wanted.
 But on his birthday, our third child was lost to miscarriage. 
The tree was forgotten, left without a second thought in its hiding place.
 I confess that I mourned the loss deeply. I felt it was the death of one of our children, 
and not simply a miss, a mistake, or a random biological course correction
Even though I never inhaled the scent of that child or smoothed a perfect cheek, 
she was born in my heart as soon as the murky blue lines indicated  positive
From that very moment, my unborn child smiled and cooed in my imagination, 
and I already knew how her tiny form would fit in the crook of my arm. 
The physical body of a child may not be fully formed at twelve weeks gestation, 
but the hopes and dreams of its mother are already spun deep and wide.
By Father's Day, three weeks after his birthday, I was still blurry with aching. 
Somehow, I remembered the tree and pulled it out of its hiding spot to
 serve as the gift of the day. 

Planting that tree together as a deliberate memorial 
was the single most healing thing we did. Because of that tree, 
my child will not be forgotten, and I am continually reminded to HOPE.

It's a step I would encourage any mother experiencing loss to take.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

* something special here