Standing right there in the middle of the cold vegetables and fruits come right up out of the soft ground, he sent the text.
Tons of spider lilies in back like Jesus sprinkled his blood over our new beginnings. I know we have a long road but I liked the scene.
I cried on my Granny’s soft shoulder, a pillow for many sorrows over seventy-seven years, and then wiped my eyes and picked out some salad for an easy supper.
Sometimes marriage is like that, a long road to healing. Sometimes when we clasp hands and slide on matching shiny rings, crying for the hope that is to come, we don’t know we are broken and depraved and that there is darkness lurking in our hearts–darkness that Jesus means to overcome in us.
We don’t see how the hard ground must be tilled and tilled and rained on and battered by storms until seeds begin to take root and grow, the weeds plucked out.
We had argued about directions on the way there, and arrived so late that we thought we would not be able to even get into our cabin. The old guy waiting up for us by one small oil lamp light amongst a foresty-dark farm, said the cabin was a 30 minute drive away. Oh. We were thinking a little walk down the old pine boards and we could lie down on the antique frame together, fluffy old quilts a welcoming respite after a 7 hour drive, and fire crackling bedside.
We stood on the hard wooden floors, and waited as the bearded man retrieved his go-to direction sheet, the lamp’s light dancing a glow across handmade chairs and tables made only the way mountain-men can craft, their wood carved, not flattened through a planer, their edges left as nature intended. They were rough and beautiful. Hard and appealing, needing a sanding but still catching the beholder’s gaze with their uniqueness.
Old trinkets were scattered around, a wooden clock with a coo-coo bird, soft cushions, and beautiful pine. Already I felt a little at home.
But we were not home–not yet. After saying goodbye to the old man, we drove 30 more minutes, which turned into an hour, winding through dark, country mountain roads with poorly written directions and too tired to keep our tempers in check.
We finally found the drive, and the tires slowly creaked over gravel like even they were tired. The mountain trees we wound our way through, they beckoned and bowed over us, angels bowed before His glory and all of creation, even they in awe of His created beings.
A fire was kindled and started in that hearth and in that bed, and that heart-shaped tub.
My husband, he surprised me by getting up before me the next morning with the camera and capturing the light splayed in across a stunning display of antique tea pots, china and oil lamp placed so delicately and thoughtfully by someone on pine. God’s light shown through the small breakfast nook, the windows almost blinding and my feet shod in his peace, the path set before me with his illuminated word.
I had laid under the heavy quilts, a weight keeping me sleepy, while he brought coffee up the pocket sized winding stairs. They were handwrought, sharply-cusped and we had joked that there was no way any elderly person should rent this cabin and there should be a disclaimer. He walked over to the hem of me, fire thoughtfully hovering and fading a few feet away, laid the cup in my weary, heavy-lidded boned self, and I drank in the warm hazelnut deep like I’d never get another drop.
I can’t quite remember, but I think maybe he walked away with a contented sigh.
We had breakfast in a gloriously lit room, more pine than I’ve ever seen in one place in my entire life, and I could not help myself but take shots of everything, with people all around–the piano, the light underneath on gleaming gold petals, and the morning sun smiling in on couples murmuring perhaps little sweet nothings to one another.
We walked up the mountain together, started out on a hike too great for us, and my husband, he grabbed a stick for bears, but in my mind, nothing was too big for me to handle.
I guess I’m naively stubborn like that.
There is a fire in my bones, something that drives me, a passion, like a warrior Indian princess. There is Cherokee blood in me after all, my daddy says, coming down from his grandmother’s long raven hair, even in her old age.
Something about that mountain dared me to climb it, and my soul cried out You’re nothing! I want to be up there with you on the top, to shrink back from nothing and to see everything and to feel the icy-cold wind of freedom on my face!
We trekked through bountiful fallen gold and orange, and then we slushed through snow, and it came to a point where he asked me to turn around because we were having to jump tiny creeks that only had rocks to leap onto. But in my heart, I could not turn back–I so loved jumping the rocks, the tiny waterfalls, and I dragged him along with me, squeezing through large boulders and snow, almost getting our feet trapped, feet that were not shod and prepared for this mission.
Every hiker that came down from the mountain looked at us like we were loony, but I truly believe I could have climbed to the top with only my Indian princess animal skins on (and fur boots made of buffalo of course).
We argued some of the way, and he nearly lost it for me pulling him so high up the mountain.
He said, honey, it is getting dark soon; all the hikers are coming down–the bears will be out and there will be no one to call to for help. The snow will only get worse from here and we are already drenched. Let’s head on back, please?
I looked up at the top of the mountain and it called to me. But so did my husband.
So I made the right choice.
And through great courage and discipline and solidarity of mind, I turned around and listened to the wisdom of reason, though my spirit wanted to soar free.
Courage can take many different forms. Sometimes it means just listening to reason when I don’t want to, and giving into something and compromising when everything inside is screaming NO!
Sometimes it is allowing God to prick the hard ground of our hearts and till up soil, to call up a friend when it’s been a while and say I’ve been thinking of you, and though things have happened, my love for you has never changed.
It may be confronting that great, big mountain of fear in our lives and trekking up the steep, smashing boulders when all we want to do is turn around and go back down.
Or it could be going around a mountain that’s not meant for us to tackle, and God says there’s a better way, perhaps a harder way, in the deep places where the evil things lurk and we must get our swords out, fight and pray.
Maybe it’s as simple as plucking up some of that hard ground of our hearts with His truth, and asking a friend for forgiveness, or going over to a neighbor to help or ask for help when we’ve been wounded.
Maybe it’s in admitting we need help to someone we trust. And healing comes. And when those we trust betray us, we release it to Him who was broken completely and totally into and is our Comforter, and we just keep loving, and healing comes.
There are always new beginnings for our woundedness and there is nothing God can’t tackle, but we have to let Him give us the grace to allow Him to do it in that hard soil.
Then, maybe we will look out and see the red burst into bloom, scattered bloody all around shooting forth, up and out toward the sky, grace, forgiveness, freedom, joy, peace, righteousness, goodness, love, forbearance, kindness, gentleness and self-control.
There are always new beginnings…in Him. And we are saturated in it.
Now let’s have some fun with Concrete Words! (Please keep writing centered around the prompt:SOIL Thanks!)