- Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
- Man never is, but always to be blessed:
- The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
- Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
- – Alexander Pope
- The ants are in my dahlias and they are killing my beautiful flowers. I bought the two small pots earlier in the summer on a whim— something to brighten my doorstep. I didn’t even know what colour they would turn out to be but was quite delighted when their copper tones began to peek from out of the foliage. Now, these beautiful plants are being overrun with tiny little killers which crawl in and out of broken stems as if on a mission, while wilted blossoms droop in support of their fragile stems. I am no gardener, I am afraid. I love to have beautiful things surround me, but my green thumb is non-existent. I water and shade and protect from the elements, but when it comes to predators, I feel helpless to defend. I want to do something, but what?
A quick search on Google suggest pesticides, but there are also downsides to using these as well. What to do?
In spite of it all— despite the abuse and the odds racked against them: my poor little plants continue to suffer on, even boasting a few little bulbs that might withstand the dangers. These flowers refuse to bend and break in light of the certain outcome to befall them, if present conditions remain. They carry on. They endure. How lovely to be a flower and not know, not realize what’s coming next.
To not have to prepare for what lies just around the corner.
I talk to her and we circle around the same issues once again. The same heaviness clouding our conversations. There is little to say sometimes when darkness overshadows. Life and all its accompanying struggles aim to kill joy, diminish our already dwindling supply of hope in the face of certain desolation. Fear, anger, rage, discouragement and despair try to crawl inside even while we fight for courage to persevere. We feel the presence as some kind of malevolence: as if it is a wave that will overtake us. Sometimes we believe that we are being destroyed from the inside out with little recourse other than passive acceptance.
We all need courage. But how is courage acquired?
We all need hope and expectation. But from where is that summoned?
We all need to know there is something worth fighting for. We need to believe that life is worth living. That there is purpose and meaning in our actions and thought. That there is something more.
But from where do we draw this resolve to believe?
I take it all in, the beauty of this late summer day. Wind blowing through the trees, clouds gently floating by. It all seems so idyllic until I turn by gaze back to my doorstep and these pitiful dahlias.
But nature has a way of replenishing itself. When grass dies, there is always new growth. When trees lose their leaves in autumn, new buds emerge in spring. When flowers die, new blossoms eventually appear. Renewal and revival are part of the process of life. In the very same ways, the soul needs to believe in hope just as the natural world aches for rebirth and new beginnings.
Some inspiration for today taken from David’s psalms.
Psalm 121 (NIV)
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you– the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm– he will watch over your life.
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
And more comfort still…
Psalm 91 (NIV)
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling– even the LORD, who is my refuge–
10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Like the wind and the waves in nature, I will carry on. Like the flower in spring, hope will always emerge from the blackness of the earth.
Courage is ours for the taking. Quitting is not an option.
Take heart, dear one.