about writing and life and God

Flowers in the snow

on December 6, 2012

Digital Image

We had sub-zero temperatures last night. My car was encased in crunchy frost several centimetres thick this morning. But the hebe in my back garden is still flowering.

It speaks to me of the challenge to blossom regardless of the tough hand we may have been dealt. Regardless of the current hard row we have to hoe.

Whatever the metaphor,  life turns nasty for all of us sometimes. Hopes and dreams shatter. Looked-for futures dissolve. And we find ourselves in the trenches. Or the bottom of the pit.

Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.

Some folk complain. Others give up. But Jesus never promised us a rose garden, or an easy life. He said challenging things about stooping down and lifting up heavy crosses and carrying them. He warned about family disapproval – even all-out feuds. He talked about persecution, people turning against you. He talked about crucifixion and death.

No, an easy life wasn’t ever on offer if you were going to follow Jesus.

But the hebe blooms despite the frost.

I want to be able to do that.

Realistically though, I’m an idle comfort-loving softie who would prefer to be curled up with a book by a warm fire rather than struggling to blossom where the nights are cold and you wake to chilly frost-encrusted mornings.

Choosing hymns for this coming Sunday’s service, I encountered once more a hymn by American writer, Love Maria Willis (1824-1908):

“Father, hear the prayer we offer: not for ease that prayer would be, But for strength that we may ever Live our lives courageously.”

I may wake up to frost on my car, but not on my face – like so many people now forced to sleep rough in our cities. A terrible return to the conditions of the 1990s.

I may feel the cold but I can turn on or turn up the central heating – unlike so many elderly people living on fixed incomes and those who will be hammered by the cuts in working tax credits and other essential payments.

I can cook myself a nice warming meal – and not have to go to one of the multiplying food banks to get what is needed but cannot be afforded.

I am fortunate. Blessed with everything I need, and lots more. In truth, there’s a lot of ease in my life and I like it!

Living courageously, living less extravagantly and more responsibly, reducing our carbon footprint, sharing what we have with those who do not have enough (without judging them for their lack) – this is challenging in a world which is set up to seduce us into the soft embracing folds of ease that will muffle our ears and eyes against the inequalities and injustices of our world, and against the cries of those in need.

The hebe blossoms while the grass is cloaked in frost. Can I blossom in my centrally-heated comfort while I know the majority of the world has so much less – and even in my own country, my own town, there are people in genuine need?





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