This morning on the farm I had a beautiful surprise waiting to greet me. Beyond the old house where I had recently tackled the grass and weeds that were standing at more than four feet tall, covering a large rock, I noticed something pale yellow waving in the gentle breeze.
I had just woken up and was still a bit groggy after what was a long day of clergy meetings the day before. Groggy or not, I could fill my head already spinning with the tasks I needed to get done. There were calls to make, freelance stories to write, worship to plan, a chapter or two in my book to write…oh, yes, that’s right. There was also a vet appointment to make for Sofie, whose wet nose nuzzling against me was my gentle reminder to add her to the “to-do” list.
Still what was waving at me?
I rubbed my eyes and squinted a bit more. It couldn’t be? Could it? I didn’t bother throwing on my mucks and quickly walked to the site of what I had hoped to be a new flower garden sometime this summer.
I should have taken off my socks, I thought, as the wet grass from the recent heavy rains soaked through the cotton quickly. My feet were soon cold, wet and muddy. I didn’t care. I had to see what this pale-yellow blotch was which, as I drew closer, seemed to be dancing with joy at the new day that had begun.
As I got closer I couldn’t believe my eyes.
The pale-yellow dancer was in fact some old friends I thought were long gone. They were my irises I had once loved.
Seven years ago, when I bought “the oldest house in Rupert, Vermont,” there had been beautiful flowers around the big rock.
As the seasons went by, though, the flowers never came back. I figured it was just my brown thumb that chased them away. It had happened before in other old houses I have lived in. One spring the flowers were there and the next they disappeared. My luck with flowers had become a joke among family and friends.
“The flowers probably heard about your gardening reputation and packed their bags and moved away,” they would tease.
And so, I had given up all hope that I would ever see those irises again.
But now here they were.
A surprise resurrection of sorts that had me wondering if I should turn around to see if there were any divine messengers waiting to tell me more good news as there were when the women came to Jesus’ tomb that first Easter morning, experiencing for themselves a surprise resurrection.
I didn’t need to turn around. My good news was right before my eyes. My old friends waving at me—they were my divine messengers telling me of a hope that can bloom when you least expect it to.
The irises were back home and beautiful as ever and grateful to be feeling the warm sun on their petals once again.
The amazing part of their return was that I didn’t do a thorough job in clearing out the tall grass and weeds that had choked them for so long. Still, what I had cleared out was enough.
I had in a way created a space, no matter how tiny, for God’s grace to poke through. A space for something wonderful to come back to life. A space for beauty to enter my world again.
If a flower, thought to be long gone and choked by weeds, could come back with just a little bit of space provided for it, what God could do in our lives if we cleared a bit of space for grace to enter in?
My grogginess wore off and the spinning in my head ceased. All the tasks awaiting me could wait a bit more. I had a reunion to enjoy with my irises. With soggy, muddy socks on my feet I sat on top of the old stone well and smiled at the pale-yellow irises. And together we enjoyed the warmth of God’s grace in the little bit of space that had been created.