I came looking for beauty, and I was not disappointed
If I had come looking for roses, I would have been let down. Instead, I came looking for beauty, and I was not disappointed. Early May where I live is full of flowering trees of all colors, and tulips awash in a rainbow of colors, all vying for my attention and appreciation. In the particular garden that I visited, the roses wouldn’t make an appearance until June but the grounds I walked that morning were full of treasures and I left feeling renewed and uplifted.
The gifts of each season
In nature, each season carries its own fruits, its own colors, its own fragrances, its own gasp of “Oh my gosh, isn’t that stunning?!” But to drink fully of the gifts of each season, or of each particular garden, I can’t carry with me expectations or an attitude of comparison such as “Gardens need roses to be beautiful and I don’t see them here so I’m leaving.” Instead, I need to enter with my eyes and heart wide open, ready and excited to take in whatever precious gift of God’s creation happens to be presented to me at this time. We need to carry the same attitudes of wonder, openness and receptivity into the metaphorical “gardens” of our own lives.
“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
My garden plot is not my neighbour’s
My season of life and the particular “garden plot” of my own life doesn’t always match those around me. Dealing with primary infertility, my “garden” right now has no children. I don’t know whether they will come in another season of life, and if they do, whether they will be biological, adopted, fostered or a combination of some kind. Maybe they will never appear in my garden. And it’s alright for me to dream of them, because they are a beautiful gift! It’s perfectly fine for me to turn to the head gardener - Jesus Himself - in His wisdom, and ask if and when children might be in God’s plan for us. But if I spend all of my time asking for and focusing on what I don't yet have, I might never appreciate what's already blooming right in front of me.
The experiences, opportunities and gifts present in my own life are beautiful, even if they don’t look exactly like the lives of people I know. If I refuse to cultivate my garden because it doesn’t include tulips like the ones in my neighbour’s garden, or if I refuse to marvel at my garden because it will never have roses, I might completely miss out on the fruitfulness, gift and beauty of the garden I do have. In the same way, if I spend all the energies of my heart wishing my life and vocation looked exactly like that of my friends and family with children, I may miss out on what God is calling me to in the present.
Trust the gardener
Just as I wouldn’t determine the skill and dedication of a gardener based on the particular plants he grows in one particular garden, I shouldn’t try to determine how active and loving God is by comparing what He is doing in my life with what He is doing in the lives of others, and the speed at which He is doing it. Just as I can’t determine how fruitful a garden is based on the types of flowers grown there this season, I can’t determine how fruitful my life is based on whether or not I have children, or when they arrive. Whether or not there are roses in your present or in your future, look for beauty. You will not be disappointed.