Last week I went to Longwood Gardens for the day. The last couple weeks had been pretty intense, so I thought I would get away a little bit. I suspected the outdoor gardens would not be much to look at, yet I knew the greenhouses would be alive with color. It was in the greenhouses I thought I would spend my day.
When I arrived, it was actually warmer than I thought, so I found myself walking the paths, enjoying the quiet except for the occasional songbird, and squeal of a child. The gardens were just as I expected, brown and bare. I had never walked the gardens this time of year. Other times I had visited, there was always something blooming, or at Christmas time the gardens would sparkle with Christmas lights. If I had not known what the gardens usually look like, I would have thought they were not anything special to see. But somehow because I had seen them before and knew what they would become, I could find beauty in the barren, and enjoy the quietness and rest they invoked.
There are days when my heart reflects the brown and barrenness of a winter garden. The winds of winter can turn a soft heart hard, and difficult circumstances can turn a once blooming heart into desert wasteland.
Yet as I sat there and could feel the hard earth around me starting to thaw, I felt that same thaw occurring in my heart. As I remember and trust that Spring will always follow Winter, I can trust the warmth of His love to once again make my heart new.
Remembering gives way to trust and trust gives way to hope.
As I walked further down the path, I looked hard into the dark soil, straining to see whatever growth I could. And finally I saw it… a little green shoot poking its head above the dirt.
A little sign of hope… spring and new life returning again.
“…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31