The Apple Orchard

Dear Lucy Maud,

I understand you better now.  I understand why you placed them there – those young dreamers with hope in their eyes and stories in their souls.

They sat in apple orchards, perched on sturdy limbs, nestled in the grass at the base of a tree, shaded by a canopy of branches laden with fruit.  The trees whispered to them –

“Listen child, not even your great grandfather knew me when I was in my youth.  I have seen births and deaths.  I have seen wide-eyed toddlers grow into strong young men.  I have seen strong young men grow into wise old men.  And now, I see you.  Welcome!”

Yes, they were there.  And now I am here, in the apple orchard, limb perfect for sitting before me, soft grass at my feet, branches fruit-laden above my head, my ancestors whispering in my ears, hope in my eyes and a story in my soul.

Yes, Lucy Maud;

now, I understand.

Note:  For L. M. Montgomery (of Anne of Green Gables fame), of course!

In the Year 29

In the year 28, I held wood in my hands.  I kept hope in my heart and laughter in my pocket.  I realized that failures don’t have to be failures – they can be learning experiences.  And that maybe…just maybe…that thing that I thought was a failure, wasn’t really a failure at all.  Maybe it was just a turn in the road.

In the year 28, I saw pain in a stranger’s eyes and I felt it in my bones.  The pain was not my own, but it sat in a chair in the corner of my room and it weighed on my heart.

In the year 28, I cut myself a piece of discontentment.  And I didn’t swallow it – I didn’t spit it out – I chewed on it.  I recognized a bit of myself in someone else, recoiled at it, and realized what I had known all along – that I was not being what I should be.

In the year 28, I walked down the mountain with my heart held high for the fourth time.  But for the first time, I left behind some parting tears – droplets of rain sliding down cheeks and landing on stones.  I came back home.  I became acquainted with the familiar unfamiliar – with asparagus fields and apple trees.  Cherries tumbled through the air and a bright yellow forklift nudged at my elbow.

And then, strangely, without reason, I found myself able to say that which I could not bring myself to say before:

A quiet prayer of surrender.

No, not of surrender –

of Love.

God, I want to be whatever You want me to be, wholeheartedly and without reserve……even if that means giving up everything that I’ve ever wanted.

It is the beginning of the year 29.  I am lying in the grass at the top of the old sledding hill, a ripened cornfield brown and brittle rustling at my head, a forest blushing from green to shades of yellow, orange, and red at my foot.  The world is beautiful and I am alive.  I am smiling.  Because I know that I am not alone.  I never have been, and I never will be.

In the year 29,

whatever I am,

I will not be afraid.

“…let us approach with a sincere heart and an absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.  Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.”

Hebrews 10:22-23