Funny how glimpses of the divine interrupt our hurried busy lives. Yesterday I stood in front of this lovely house trimming the box woods. Being vertically challenged I began on the porch and reaching as far as my short arms would take me I leveled off the top of each shrub. As I began shaping the bushes from the ground my first thought was “These are box woods.” Then Joy began to flood my soul as the reality of redemptive grace propelled me out of this world into the eternal; More simply said “faith became sight.”
My Daddy loved gardening. His yard was his masterpiece. Each scrub each bulb each plant was intentionally placed in the earth so that in due season the house was surrounded with breathtaking beauty. It was a frequent sight for passers by to see him crawling around the yard pulling weeds with his hands manicuring the blanket of grass with a smile. You see he had to crawl because one of his legs was 4 inches shorter than the other after the polio epidemic in the 1920s. There were some task Daddy just could not manage in his garden of glory: cutting the grass and trimming the hedges were among those. As soon as I was able to do such tasks he began teaching me and I would earn $20 extra allowance helping him; It’s how he taught me the value of work.
My Daddy also made a lot of mistakes raising 2 daughters as a single Dad in the sixties. One was failing to confront the perpetrator of my sexual abuse when he was aware of it. For decades my resentment toward this failure was deeply rooted in my heart. Lost in a sense of abandonment that resentment was like gasoline fueling the fire of my self destructive behaviors and inevitably distorting my “image of God.” Forgiveness is unexplainable to me. I am really not sure how long it takes or how often the opportunity has risen up for me to forgive my Daddy. It began before his death when I came to the reality of God’s relentless unconditional love. Over the past seventeen years in my own journey of healing my Daddy has been included in the “seventy times seven” more than I can recall. But in the process something beautiful has happened some kind of indescribable gift of joy when memories of him come to mind. Yesterday I could hear his voice instructing me in how to trim those box woods, reminding me about their name, to find a line, hold the trimmer straight and steady and you can see from the pic how they turned out “like boxes” of course! How absolutely perfect for them to be outlining the front of a two year cost free redemptive recovery home for women with disabilities including complex trauma from sexual abuse. Forgiveness is a deeply hidden treasure that can only be found in everlasting love. It is resentment turned to love, what was intended for evil used for good, it is the smile on our Papa God’s face when what once was painful to remember it now a beacon of love offered to others in the most unexpected ways. Ashes really do turn to beauty and God only knows how and when. Be still and know, rest and trust, all good things take time and LOVE ALWAYS WINS!