Rise

Twelve years ago, when I moved into my current home, there wasn’t much in the bed along the sidewalk. Each spring, Daffodil bulbs would sprout and bloom in a riot of yellow and white, but the rest of the year, the bed was barren.

Day after day, I sat on my porch swing staring at what I jokingly called, “The Great Expanse of Nothingness,” and bit by bit, I began to envision what was to become.

One day, as I was driving through downtown Franklin, I saw an old millstone propped against the wall of Riverside Antiques. After a bit of negotiating and a ridiculously small amount of cash, it was in the back of my minivan. Once home, I rolled it precariously down the sidewalk to the place I always knew it should be. Shovel by shovel, stone by stone, a millstone fountain was born.

I laid a stone path next to one side of the fountain and tucked St. John’s Wort, Peonies, and a small shrub of unknown origin, found on the clearance rack at Home Depot, around the other. A friend gifted me Cat Mint from her garden to fill the space other side of the stone path.

Each year, new plants joined old ones until the bed slowly filled.

Black-eyed Susan. Bee Balm. Roses.

 Russian Sage. Peonies. Sedum…

A couple of years ago, decades upon decades of trauma and grief came calling for me. I sat on my porch swing, looked over my garden, and felt a marked disconnect from its peace and beauty with the sorrow in my soul. I picked up my journal and penned these words-

Let me hang sorrow from the trees.

Let me sow it upon the earth,

scratch it into the soil until,

my fingers bleed and my nails

rip, jagged

torn from their roots.

Shut up the skies. No need for rain.

Hold back the dew, cool night’s breath.

Let me pour out my soul.

Let grief rise

from the well-spring within, until

my eyes overflow,

my brokenness pours out, falling

upon seed and soil.

Break open the storehouse,

grief kept back too long.

Throw open the sluice gate,

torrent-churning flood.

Let my tears bathe sorrow,

Baptize it.

Wash it.

Soften its husk, until

it swells and cracks,

a thin green shoot pushing through the fissure.

Look, now! It rises

through the dark,

breaks the surface,

reaching for the sun…

Let me hang sorrow from the trees.

Let me sow it upon the earth.

Let me water it with each tear I shed.

Let me wait for hope to rise again.

Not long after I wrote that poem, all of the plants to one side of the rock walk inexplicably died.

Then, for a long time, the ground lay barren. This summer, life is making a comeback.

Here’s to those who grieve, who have the courage to face their losses honestly, letting the tears fall where they may.

May you rest in mercy. May you know that God bends near to hear your cry. May your feel the stirring of hope, persistent, resilient hope, in the darkest corner of your soul, and know that life is at this very moment pushing against the darkness, reaching for the sun.

May you rise again.

2 Replies to “Rise”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. Grief is so hard. I can’t imagine ever enduring it without the knowledge of God’s mercy and love.

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