Death in the Garden

I quieted my house today, I needed to process.

I had a really nice morning with a friend, and then just like grief does, it settled in as soon as she left. Instead of turning the tv or music on, I lay down in silence. I’m not good at this, but I have been so very tired, so I gave it a shot. When I woke up, tears were streaming down my face.

I think our body holds our pain and, at least for me, the tears are an indication of releasing what is stuffed down deep.

Let me start out by saying I believe we must grieve the small and the big. The pain that hurts a little and the pain that rips the air from our lungs. They are both important. So, whatever the level of sadness in you today, it is welcome here.

In my last post, I had written about the fact that God has given us good and pleasant boundaries. I shared that I felt he was telling me to look inside those boundaries with a heart to learn, to discover, to enjoy who He is and what He has given me.

I have to be honest, the first thing I thought he’d show me was a pretty flower he’d planted. But, that isn’t what he opened my eyes to. He showed me a death.

Like many other days, I was in my back yard area fiddling around. One thing that always brings me a smile there are the wild birds. Different personalities. Varied feather patterns. Distinguishing chirps and tweets.

There I was with a heart ready to hear from the Lord, again, thinking joy is coming, and I see a house finch on my feeder. I stop. Something is not right. I know these birds and this one is not as it should be.

I walk closer. It doesn’t fly off. I walk around to the other side to get a better look and it’s breathing is labored, one eye is very cloudy, foamy bubbles are coming from its little beak. My heart whispers, “Oh sweet one, you are dying.”

The world fell quiet. No one was around. You have to understand, I love animals. Joy bubbles like a fountain out of me when I see them. But in this moment, even the trees and garden were silent. No joy. A life was ending.

A prayer landed on my lips. “Oh Lord, please don’t let it suffer. Take it quickly.”

I did not want to leave that little bird to die alone, but I had a friend about to come to my door, so I took my tiny garden shovel and helped the little one to a shady spot between some of my pots. It was very hot, and I wanted to bring some comfort. When I came back after my friend was gone, the birdie was laying in the grass, it’s life gone.

And, this is where God, so how He does, enters the picture in ways we do not expect. I looked around and there was no one there for me to say, “Look, it died, and I am sad.” So, I stood there, watching the little bird awhile. Then I thought, I will bury it.

Instantly a voice poked at me saying, “Seriously? There are hundreds of birds, you want to bury it? That’s silly. Birds die every day and no one buries them.”

But, I thought, even in death, I can protect the little one from being eaten by a dog walking by or some other animal. It didn’t seem right to leave it exposed and vulnerable.

I grabbed my little garden shovel, dug a hole under a large tree, and lifted the lifeless bird. As I laid it gently in the dirt, these words came from my mouth. “Thank you for being beautiful.” These words surprised me, and I wept.

Instantly, I felt the Lord’s presence. It was as if he were right behind me, leaning over, watching me place his little creation in a hole.

I heard his voice in my heart. “Not one of these falls to the ground without me knowing.”

There is so much I felt in that moment. One of which, is that He was with me. This moment reflected who He is and how I was made in light of that. He was walking with me within the boundary lines that had fallen in pleasant places and had made me for a moment like this. God had opened my eyes, even knowing that it would grieve me.

But, that wasn’t cruel, it was a moment where he said, “Do you know how I have made you? You do not want anyone or anything to suffer alone. You want to know that I see you and you want others to know that they are seen. You want what I have made to be treated as precious. You want the world to know my heart, even for small things like the birds. I have made you this way so that you can be beautiful, weep with those who weep, use your eyes and words to lift a broken heart, and tenderly and quietly offer my love to a world that is suffering. I will never leave you, you are mine, and I am with the brokenhearted and so I have called you to do the same.”

For those of you reading who may not know what it means when a Christian says they have a relationship with God, the above is an example of what that means. With Christ you aren’t alone, it is not only about eternal salvation and whether heaven or hell is a destination you will arrive in, but it is also about now and hearing and knowing the love of God that you can then share with fellow human beings.

I have learned it is good to grieve. It comes in waves and those are meant to wash us clean, not weigh us down. So, God was true to his word regarding the garden. He showed me his creation, aspects of his character and what that means for me. There is so much more I could say, but for now, that is enough.

I hope this helps you in some way today, friends.

With love,

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