I step through the picket gate into the small garden and immediately feel my mind lighten. The rustle of the magnolia leaves overhead stir up stillness within my soul. The simplicity of the dirt, the plants, the growing tomatoes in the back end of the yard seem to offer a quietness from the insanity that swirls so closely.
Rest, stillness, cease striving. I can fail at that even when my body is not moving. Yet as I pick weeds and inspect veggie plants for pests, I sense the striving fall away. As I take my usual seat on the bench overlooking the growing garden, my heart is upturned as if the Lord is guiding my chin upwards with His own hand.
Look towards me, child.
Be still, know He is God. There is no other like Him and He holds all things well. Even in the midst of raising young adult men as their final steps of childhood are left behind. Even in the midst of the strain and struggle of being the sole caretaker of an aging parent, who is grieving the loss of her life partner. Even in the midst of riding the waves of my own grief. Even in the midst of COVID numbers, potential job losses, face masks and fears. Right there in the midst of that garden, in the midst of those swirling trials, the Lord is God and He calls my soul to stillness. Rest. Cease striving.
Where should my mind reach instead?
It is impossible to shut it off, to flip the light switch and stop the feeling, the thinking and the fears.
Know I am God.
Know it, internalize that truth and receive its strength. If He is God, then I can sit right here in this garden and offer thanksgiving for the swaying trees, the bold blueness of the sky, the upturned leaves of these strawberries brimming with little white flowers and the hope of fruit to come. In the stillness I realize that the gratitude for His God-ness is drawing the stillness into me. I pause and let it overtake the fears, anxieties and doubts. I let Him be bigger than teenagers, finances, viruses.
Before I take the walk back towards the house, I ask Him to remind me of this and to draw me back to gratitude with each restart of the swirl. A hymn comes to mind and I am sure it is His Spirit humming it within me as I close the back door behind me.