“The unexpected...and beyond.”
Sometimes God speaks in little snippets. We might even miss that it’s His voice, unless we listen carefully.
I had noticed the Right-of-Way trucks making their way up our road, little by little. They made themselves known throughout the day, as sounds of the chipper scarfing up the limbs and branches echoed throughout the neighborhood. Those monster pruners cleared the sides of the road with zeal and efficiency. The workers often used our driveway to secure a spot off the road, letting passers-by go about their day. I came home to find them there once again, but this day, there was something unexpected. They were postured to cut, and this time, they were on our hill. My husband went out to speak with them, and they confirmed their work order, and the modifications to how they have pruned in the past. No longer do they just prune the right-of-ways…they are to clear them. Appeals to allow us to “partner” with them in keeping the trees pruned and off the power lines did not sway them. Orders were orders. One by one, our beloved bird habitat, wind shield, and visual landscaping were felled. Stately pines, years old, were reduced to unsightly stumps that peppered the hill and the top of our knoll. I cried.
It took time to even look out of my kitchen window afterward. I found I would focus on the dishes in my sink rather than raise my eyes to be reminded of my greif. I mourned those trees. I loved what had been. My heart remembered the sight of birds that had thrived on that side of the yard, finding safety and security in swooping down to the feeders, knowing they had cover and protection. We saw robins and others make their nest there, confidently raising babies close to food, water, and shelter. I worried they would leave. Mostly I worried about my beloved doves. They have been with me for two years, starting with one lone visitor, who invited two friends. Now there are three, always close by, overseeing the yard, and bringing a smile to my face when I see them.
Finally, my mourning became determination. A new vision of what could be was opened to my heart. I talked with my mom, my gardening mentor, and others about what could be replanted just our side of the right-of-way. It would have to be fast-growing, something that would divert the incessant winds that come from that side of the yard, and something that would be conducive to nesting. I heard ‘Leyland Cypress’ from everyone I consulted. I began to see there could be something beyond what had been. It could be something beautiful, even in the unexpected. It could be better.
It would never have occurred to me that we would be in such a ‘replanting’ process that spring. It was totally unexpected. And now that I have thought about it, how much more natural could it be? How very gracious of our Father …a gentle reminder of what He is about in this hour. It is a season of the old coming down, and the new being established. We have seen it over and over in so many areas of our lives, and all around us. None of it was expected.
What we have known to be familiar is so often just not the same. I laughed to see a recent article articulate the very same words that had been written in my own journal; words penned by Charles Dickens so many years ago, “It was the best of times and the worst of times.” It is bittersweet when we look back, as it was when the elders who had seen the old temple wept, even as the new was being built. We, like them, may find ourselves feeling those dichotomous emotions of expectancy and grief. God is graciously giving us time…time to respond, time to adjust, and time to “practice” choosing how we will make the adjustments, where we will stand, and what we are willing to move forward in. He is ‘unexpectedly’ using little snippets of everyday occurrences of our lives for the 'dry-runs'. He is letting us see there can be more than what we’ve known. I never expected to see Him work in the mysterious ways He is working now, but He is not only graciously helping me see him in the ‘unexpected’, He is helping me to look ahead. I can look out my window when I do my dishes now. I am looking at where my trees were, and I am able to look ‘beyond’.