"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul.
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all"--Emily Dickinson
A beautiful spring day in Buffalo. Sunny, 81 at 11 A.M. It doesn't get any better then this. Woke up and went to the nearby Home Depot to buy mulch. Can you believe they weren't open yet at 7:45? Come on people, the early bird gets the worm. Open those doors! Buy the mulch and weed killer. And begin. Clean and dig out the weeds and grass. Cut off the dead stuff. Clean out the dead leaves. By noon, I had the front garden cleared out and looking good. Ready for the season. Green buds on the bushes. Hostas popping up. And Aunt Betty's myrtle spreading like wildfire, just mocking me in the sunlight.
I could never get myrtle to grow on my own. We had a huge area around our front maple when we moved in. So pretty. The lovely purple flowers in the spring really warm the heart. But I somehow couldn't keep it going. Bought tons more, and it all died. Everyone said, next time you are at "The Cabin" bring some back. The hunting cabin, 2 hours away near Corning, NY, way up in the hills. There is a large one acre patch of the myrtle there now. Aunt Betty planted it around a family cabin 40 years ago. The cabin and Aunt Betty are long gone, but the myrtle lives on, with no one helping it.
Last year, we brought some baby lilacs back from this cabin area. Planted them, but they didn't survive. The bleeding heart we also took seems to be coming in wonderfully. And in the dirt where we had tried the lilacs, Aunt Betty's myrtle popped up. We didn't even grab any to plant with the lilacs, not a leaf at all. I didn't want the misery of trying to nurture it again. But still it grew. Now we have a 2 x 3 foot patch. It will probably cover the entire garden before I know it. It seems to be telling me not to give up.
The seeds of Aunt Betty's myrtle live on without any encouragement. They just know how to live anywhere. They know exactly what to do, and even when I have given up hope, they have not. The joy of life is still in them.
Many time in the past weeks I have felt like I had no hope. All I can do is get out a little prayer to keep my faith going. And the amazing thing, is I usually always get it in lots of surprising ways. Miss Kodak sends me job tips and invites me to come out to a party. Syd's Mom invites me to tea and plays, and listens to me while I wail and blubber like a two year old. The Queen calls unexpectedly at lunch to see if she can get me to go leave the warm confines of the comforter I am wearing like a robe and go out for happy hour. Miss Virgina calls me and makes me crazy by having 3 job offers while she is still gainfully employed. Mr. Comedy gets me to play checkers, whooping my butt and making me laugh. My dogs throws her ball around the house, saying to me, "Hey if you won't play ball with me, I will just have to play catch with myself." My DH brings me pizza just because I am blue. Maggie's softball coach--gainfully employee and working like a dog in the family business his whole life--tells me to apply for the job I worry is too much work, "just to practice on the interview. My Dad gets people to send me job postings by snail mail. Old school is good too Dad. My brother emails me and meets with another friend who was also laid off from my company. My gym friends tell me I am funny and get me to try spinning class. (I think this was because the pain in my privates would distract me from any other thought for a week. I am still sitting on a pillow.) Old friends email jokes to make me laugh. Maverick doesn't get detention for a whole week! A whole week! And my twins run in from school, all excited and happy that they can wear shorts in April in Buffalo, and ask me, "How was work?"--just as they have every day their whole lives.
Hope is everywhere, even when we don't plant the stalk ourselves, God plants it for us. And keeps planting it again and again, just to make sure we are hearing him.