It begins with a man gathering snippets of Spring from his garden, carrying them to church for the woman I call my second mama. But my second mama is home sick and these tiny blossoms find their way to another woman's hand, keep her company while we sing loud praise and listen long for His Word.
And it's after everyone's gone and I'm wandering around picking and straightening and turning everything right around--that's when I see this bouquet in a Styrofoam cup, still here on a table, no one near to marvel at it's beauty.
I'm the fragrance-starved woman who always buries her face in the blooms and I can't resist gathering up these tiny pieces of Spring and breathing them in. And I'm giddy with wonder when I realize why the Grape Hyacinth's been named.
How could I not know?
All these years and all these blooms and have I always just rushed right past, never stopped to discover the fragrance of this one flower?
But maybe it's just this--maybe I've never laid myself down on the wet ground of Spring, made myself small enough to see and smell and know what hides in the tiniest of stems.
I can't bear to leave the beauty behind, so I carry this bouquet home in a cup, keep it close at hand, close enough to breathe. And it's not long before I know this gift's come straight from Him, God courting this heart of mine with whimsy and patience and love.
Because the Holy Week dawns with warm sun and wide skies, but the losses keep coming and I keep breaking and that bottle full of hope? It feels more like a bottle full of empty promises, a bottle full of hope that's been deferred for the millionth time.
And yes. Hope deferred, it really does make the heart sick.
But I keep burying my face in the fragrance of Spring, pondering what it means to be laid low. Because being laid low, sometimes it feels like being pushed right down in the mud of a life, all that grief and struggle smeared up and down, the stench of loss permeating every fiber.
Yet I can't help but wonder if maybe it's this instead--God laying us down, making us small enough to see Who He really is, letting us find the fragrance of His Love in all the places we've rushed right past.
So the week wears on and I dread the coming of the Friday someone's named Good. Because I'm not the woman who needs to be reminded of all that grief. No, I was born into grief and it's rooted deep and it's always a fight to remember the Grace over the Grief--and why do we have to call this day Good?
But He's patient and He's persistent and He doesn't rest until I see what's happening here--God laying low His own Son, making Him small enough to be one of us, because it's the only way for the fragrance of His Love to permeate the whole earth.
And, oh, there's grief in remembering what it cost Him to love us, but isn't it the Grace of His sacrifice that names this day Good? Isn't it He Who names the laying low Good?
I remember those words I penned on a warm day in October, Him teaching me what hope really means.
It's the laying down of all that we are and all the we have, burying it deep in the soil of the One Who Loves, and waiting in expectation for His Life to emerge within us--this is hope.
And how could I have forgotten what He told me then about the Friday named Good? That Hope was right there all along and it's not the Grief that needs remembering but the Grace?
Hope holds itself against a cross when the whole world thinks the story's over. Hope lets go of the last breath of life while the enemy's taunt still rings out. Hope lets Love bury it in the darkness and waits patiently, expectantly for God to show up.
Today's the day we're remembering those hours of darkness when the Father wept and the Son bled and all of His Beloveds felt thrown down in the mud of a broken life. But Hope never wavered, kept beating strong through the night, and it wasn't long before His Love poured out on all the ones laid low.
On the Son first and then His Beloveds and now us.
So He's laid me low and I've laid my hope down and maybe I don't know what's coming from all this. But I do know this:
And that's enough to heal us all.
May you know this Hope Who Lives more deeply and surely than ever before as you celebrate this Easter weekend