Last night, my friend showed me a picture of a beautiful daffodil (see above) and pointed me to a hymn, “Now the Green Blade Rises.” It reminded me of a story, a story that feels Easter-appropriate.
My mother tells me that in Seoul, where we lived as a family for four years when I was young, there was this one really long winter.
It was Evangelical missionary culture. Her husband was boss, head of the household, of the youth at church, of some faction of the Christian organization he belonged to. She had no one to talk to. No one to listen to her. It was (as she describes it) “the winter of her soul.”
One day, my mother and I were walking home from the bus, back to the missionary complex where we lived. As we made our way up the steep hill, we passed a courtyard that housed rose bushes, but there were no roses. They had died in the cold, she thought. She was dying in the cold, she thought.
I looked up at her with my big blue eyes and saw her weary ones brimming with pain, saw it glisten on her cheek. I tugged at her coat for probably the tenth time that afternoon. She looked down at me, patient but empty, as I asked, “Aren’t those rose bushes?” All we could see of them were some thorns peeking through the snow.
I waited for her affirmation before continuing. “Then…then that means that there are going to be roses there in the spring. All different colors…red, and pink, and yellow. They will be beautiful!”
Not only did I remember the roses from before the long winter, but I had also read all about bees and flowers and trees and plants in my sister’s science book. I wondered if my mother had forgotten. She tells me now that she had.
This story and the hymn spoke to my condition. I am not suggesting that I feel any sort of triumph today, or that anyone should, but I appreciated the reminder of what I, too, seem to have forgotten. Love will live again, “come again like wheat that springeth green.” Though perhaps not yet.
(Photo by Anthony Kirk.)