This Spring, there was a particularly lonely bend in the road.
Fatigue, insecurity, and isolation were the features of a scorched Lenten landscape. Then all at once, I came upon a an orange poppy, that California flower. Its color and life were a stark and surprising contrast to the barrenness. So delighted, I picked it up and carried it with me for a while.
I let it keep me company.
As I had a fist full of them, I came to really enjoy their sight, smell, and cheery flash of color as I swung my arms and changed my gait—less trudging with these in hand.
I picked up my pace on the road. I picked more of them as I passed through a field of many. I really came to love them.
Sometime later, my traveling companions re-joined me on the road. I was glad to see them and glad to show what I had been collecting.
Some started asking questions.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
“Aren’t you allergic to those?”
“Isn’t picking those illegal?”
“Is this even your property? Are you supposed to pick flowers from land you don’t own?”
“I don’t know those answers,” I said. “But gathering them feels important and I like doing it.”
I started to notice that the work of gathering them took me away more and more often from my long-time traveling companions. Figuring it was they who were preoccupied, I pressed on.
Yet, I also noticed that my hands were raw and my load was heavy.
The view was changing, and the blooms were much less a contrast to the landscape as it grew greener.
I began asking my own questions of the Father. Why were we doing this work? Who were these for? How long was I supposed to carry on? Did I also need to keep them alive? Do I get to / will I have to do this forever? Is this going where I hope it is?
I kept walking and gathering. I waited for Answers.
After a while, an Answer came to a question I didn’t want to ask.
“Put them down. Come with Me.”
I was gutted. It felt like a waste in every direction–waste of effort in collecting them, waste of beauty to drop them on the side of the road.
I felt bereft. They were such good company. They had become my favorite thing.
Angry at the Father, I demanded “Why.” Why was it given and taken away? What was the point? When will the story end differently? Why must I hurt so much?
Then I read:
And I saw that We were still on the Road together, the Father and I.
My heart broke and tears poured down as I let go of them all in one afternoon. As the Father drew me close, I ugly-cried into the folds of His robe, and He stroked my hair.
“You don’t need those, Baby Girl,” He said. “Someday you’ll learn that I am Enough.
And you are, too.”