Sunday, March 7, 2010

Orange Blossoms and Hope

Right outside my kitchen window there are 2 orange trees. 
One is a navel and one is a blood orange. 
Both had fruit when we moved in last spring. 
Both kinds were delicious, but I am particularly smitten with the blood oranges.
They are just so beautiful. 
We love to use them for juice.

Over the summer, the Hackberry tree in our front yard was attacked by Chinese aphid who secreted this disgusting, sticky substance, which got all over everything. 
House, cars, windows, sidewalk, and the orange trees covered in ick.
The orange trees then got moldy and looked just awful. 
We wondered if we'd get fruit this spring.

Our navel tree did us proud. It is full of big, bright orange globes that are bursting with sweet juice. They are wonderful.
Our blood orange tree, however, appeared to be dying. 
No blossoms, no fruit, no new growth. 
Just lots of yellow leaves, covered with black mold. 
It made us sad.

But then, about a week or so ago, I saw them.

Looking out the window while I washed the dishes, I gasped. 
I turned off the water and ran outside.
I breathed deeply.
I smiled.
I cried.

For no reason that I understand, our blood orange tree is flowering. 
I thought it was beyond hope, but it isn't.
For there, among the yellow leaves, the black spots, the decay, are waxy new leaves, full of life and possibility. 
They are the sweetest smelling blossoms I know. 
There is the promise of fruit.
There is new life.
There is hope.

While I was miscarrying, standing in the shower sobbing, all I could think or say was, "this isn't how it was supposed to be."
While I was laying in a hospital bed, being wheeled down the hall to ultrasound, to make sure my uterus was empty, all I could think was, "this isn't how it was supposed to be."
When I feel overwhelmed with sadness at any given moment, all I think is, "this isn't how it was supposed to be."

I miss my baby. 
I am sad I will never know who he or she was going to be. 
I am sad won't be able to hold him, to kiss her, to see her. 
I don't even know if my baby was a he or a she.
I mourn the life my baby never lived.

It wasn't supposed to be this way.
And strangely enough, that thought gives me solace.
Because the opposite idea, when people say, "well, we can't understand God's plan," well, that really burns me up.
What, do you think this was God's plan? 
You think He wants sadness and grief and death?
Last time I checked, when He created the world He said it was GOOD.

I don't pretend to understand God. 
I don't. 
And perhaps you'll disagree with my theology and want to argue predestination or free will with me. 
I'm not going there right now.
Instead, I will rest in the knowledge of these 2 things.

1. God created the world perfect. It was good. That was His plan.
2. Satan and man chose wrong. They chose selfishness, imperfection and ultimately death. Despite that, God still works for good.
Like my Dad always says, 
"God is in the business of redemption."

And so I look out my kitchen window and I feel hope. 
I can smile. 
I can laugh. 
I can think about my kids' birthday parties
I can look forward to the days ahead.
I am reminded that my pain can help others. 
I can encourage. Just as I was encouraged here.
God didn't plan this pain for me, but He helps me use it for good.

This world is full of yellow leaves, leaves moldy and rotten with decay.
But we mustn't forget the orange blossoms.
Thank you God for spring time.
Love from,


Betsi said...

Just beautiful. You are right. People don't get it. God is good. He does not send evil and pain our way, he only redeems it when it happens to those who love Him.
I have always hated it when people say platudinous things like "God does everything for a reason" or "God never gives us more than we can handle". Because it's lies. God doesn't do the death and the sorrow and He DOES give us more than we can handle, otherwise we wouldn't need Jesus!
You are such an inspiration to me, Greta. Your grace and faith are so sweet to the Father.
Love you, Betsi*

Jenny said...

Two of my absolute favorite things in the universe...
1. The scent of orange blossoms
2. Redemption


Anonymous said...

So beautiful, Greta. Thanks so much for sharing this.
With Love,
Laura Younger

Anonymous said...

this post reminded me of psalm 61 and daisy love

check out this link

Lori said...

Sending you a cyber (hug).

bso said...

Such sweet and true words, Greta. Thank you for your encouragement this morning and for telling your story. Love, Brittany

Mom said...

Just beautiful my girl. I love you!