In the book, The Secret Garden, Mary Lennox finds herself in a very dark stretch of life. Orphaned and sent to live with her emotionally distant uncle, she finds a silver lining in her secret garden. She and her friend Dickon examine what seems to be a dead garden before the warmth of summer begins…
“Will there be roses?” she whispered. “Can you tell? I thought perhaps they were all dead.”
“Eh! No! Not them–not all of ’em!” he answered. “Look here!”
He stepped over to the nearest tree–an old, old one with gray lichen all over its bark, but upholding a curtain of tangled sprays and branches. He took a thick knife out of his Pocket and opened one of its blades.
“There’s lots o’ dead wood as ought to be cut out,” he said. “An’ there’s a lot o’ old wood, but it made some new last year. This here’s a new bit,” and he touched a shoot which looked brownish green instead of hard, dry gray. Mary touched it herself in an eager, reverent way.
“That one?” she said. “Is that one quite alive quite?”
Dickon curved his wide smiling mouth.
“It’s as wick as you or me,” he said; and Mary remembered that Martha had told her that “wick” meant “alive” or “lively.”
“I’m glad it’s wick!” she cried out in her whisper. “I want them all to be wick. Let us go round the garden and count how many wick ones there are.”
She quite panted with eagerness, and Dickon was as eager as she was. They went from tree to tree and from bush to bush. Dickon carried his knife in his hand and showed her things which she thought wonderful.
I woke on Saturday morning to a beautiful snowstorm. Fat flakes fell on the warm ground- a battle between frigid Winter and vibrant Spring. Here is a picture:
Steven and I had breakfast and watched the snow fall from the cozy indoors. I was ecstatic when I opened my little veggie bag greenhouse (an egg carton, egg shells, seedling soil, and seeds in a baggie) to see this…
The first seedling could not wait to emerge. It usually takes a week or two for the first sprout to emerge, but this little guy sprouted after 2 1/2 days. Basil is quick to germinate, but this sprout was extra eager!
Hope is a heavy feeling in dark circumstances. If life has been one frigid day after another, it takes courage to hope for the warmth and life of spring, to emerge as a delicate seedling before winter ends its reign. Sometimes I find comfort in the predictability of the dead of winter. At least I know it’s going to be cold! There is none of this back and forth- one day it’s cold, the next day it’s warm (true for this weekend- today I am wearing flip-flops!). Dare I even hope for the wonder of spring?
I was catching up with my Dad the other day. He is relocating his business in hopes of a better living. I am looking forward to the fruition of a couple of years of a anticipation: the first issue of namesake magazine. There is much at stake. The possibilities are exciting. But what if it doesn’t work out? What if we crash and burn? What if winter lives on?
Certainly, our circumstances could crumble around us. The economy is wavering. We could fail. The world could fail us. We could get our hopes up only to have them dashed. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Such pain reaches the depths of the heart. What a risk, to hope!
But I have to jump. It is cold outside, but inside I am wick. Though the world crumbles around me, inside I am alive. So I said to my Dad, who has long been a source of wisdom for me, “Get your hopes up!” He is weary of the bleak season, but his voice was wick green when he answered, “Yeah! Let’s get our hopes up!”
We hope not in circumstances, but joy is alive inside because we await the end of winter. Spring is imminent! My hopes are up, delicate and fragile as the new sprout emerging from its eggshell container.
From Romans 8, one of my favorite passages, 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.