Spring is my favorite season. Easter is my favorite day. Both are about Life bursting through when and where we least expect it. Imperceptible at first, buds, tiny and hard, warm in the expanding sun’s heat, and slowly whisper open. Each year I pay close attention. I try to catch this opening in the act, but it never happens. One day all is tightly gripped, closed. The next day, all is open, verdant green, colors exploding, the sight, the sounds, the smell of fertile soil, of Life triumphant.
For years I had a little poem by Joyce Rupp scotch-taped to the window sill above my kitchen sink:
And every year the dull and dead in us meets our Easter challenge: to be open to the unexpected, to believe beyond our security, to welcome God in every form, and trust in our own greening. (Joyce Rupp, Easter Challenge)
I think I like this poem because it proclaims that Easter can happen in us. I have seen it. Relationships, bruised and wounded, open to forgiveness and reconciliation. Hope, weary and battered, takes a deep breath of Spirit. Doors, bolted shut against fear’s wintry cold, open, and trust emerges into the sunlight.
A friend once told me that my downfall is that I see the potential for good in others. I focus so much on that potential for goodness that I cannot see the meanness right before my eyes. Actually, I do see it.
But I have faith in something bigger. Rupp and one of my favorite mystics, Hildegard of Bingen, call it the “greening.”
God is always able to make us new. Not just some of us. ALL of us. No matter what.
God’s invitation to this new life is always there. Some of us say “Yes” to it. Some of us prefer to keep ourselves tightly closed. All over the world, in many different cultures and faith traditions, the story of creation takes place in a primordial garden.
The Easter story also takes place in a garden. Mary Magdalene, seeing the resurrected Christ, thinks he is the gardener. Things always come full circle. The cross becomes the Tree of Life. The tomb becomes the womb. The Easter garden returns us to the Garden of Eden. We are invited to open ourselves and to let God re-create us, make us new.
Life IS triumphant over death. You can choose to open to this, or not.
I believe that God sees us in the fullness of God’s potential. As a mother, I see my young adult children as through God’s eyes. I see their ultimate potential. I also see their hardness and resistance, their wounds, and their fear of being wounded again. I pray that their hearts remain open.
In my better moments, I am able to see everyone with a mother’s eyes, the closest thing to God’s eyes that I know. Year’s ago I liked a song called, “If You Could See Yourself Through My Eyes,” by Andy Pratt. It spoke about trying to see ourselves through God’s eyes, and urged us to “Love our way through it all.”
Easter us, O, God!
This day may you see the greening potential in all you encounter,
and may you trust in your own greening.
Linda Forsberg, Copyright, April 30, 2015
Photos: Iris, Hawaii; Garden at Enders Island, Mystic, CT; Ted’s vegetable garden; open window, church in Kaua’i; flower, Maui; Garden of Eden, Maui; Sylvie and John Luca at John Luca’s first birthday party; Sylve; Tree of Life, Hilo, Big Island, Hawaii