We put the cross up in the garden yesterday
A cross of pine boards, cut and nailed together by my son and his grandfatherthree years ago for my son’s wedding day.
My son and his bride would stand beneath this cross as they made their vows of commitment to stand by each other
in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer. A commitment tested now, in these times, in this uncertainty. This marriage of three years as well as our own of over three decades are tested in times that challenge our commitment, our steadfastness, our standing with each other.
The cross was the first step of commitment God took with us on that first Easter morning.
The commitment a groom takes to care for his bride on their wedding day reflects the promise God makes with us to stand by us though the difficulties and joys of life.
His death on the cross removed the power of darkness.
This cross was promise covenant, like a marriage covenant,
that God is with us
to give us strength to stand through uncertainty, fear, despair.
A few hours after we stood up the cross in the yard I fell apart.
We saw our son for the first time since this virus changed our world in a matter of
weeks. The tears welled up, my heart tore up at the sight of my son once more in this
house where our four children have grown.
I’ve grown used to the silence now. In fact I enjoy it. Each morning new sounds once
overlooked greet the day….the hoot of an owl, the chirps of a chickadee, the call of a
cardinal. The cry of the sand crane. The sound of the wind.
I was content in this new silence until the sight of my son,
When memories of “how it used to be” blew me over
when the house was full
when walls echoed laughter
when income was secure to provide for our family
when shelves were stocked full on grocery aisles.
We stood the cross up in the garden only hours earlier
a few hours later I need to lay these overwhelming fears and insecurities at its base next
to the palm fronds I had set down that morning.
the day of the tomb
the day to let things rot and disintegrate
the day to feel, carry burden and discouragement
then bury them in the darkness behind a stone.
For on Sunday morning, light comes.
Just before sunrise I rise.
I cut a peace lily bloom from my yard.
I take one small nail and hammer the bloom into the center of the cross.
The wind stirs around me as if God’s spirit, rhema,
blows hope into the air .
I paddle atop the pond behind my house
As the sun rises over the clouds
casting an orange path on the dark muddy water.
On this new day
the hope of new life shimmers on dark waters.
In the same setting of uncertainty, hidden dangers (alligators?)
there are also lily pads and egrets
and a nest for a family of sand cranes.
The family of four cranes meet me on the shore
A mother, a fathers, and two fledglings
I have watched their young ones grow during this past month of confinement.
observed their young furry bodies take tentative steps beside their parents.
Their long legs now gracefully stride beside theirs
as they furrow beneath the grass for food.
This patch of grass, once a field for football games and wiffleball tournaments for my
family are now a feeding ground for this family of four.
Side by side the mother and child step.
The mother rustles beneath earth’s surface
gathering seeds into her mouth.
In one practiced movement
transfers nourishment, food,
into her child’s beak.
I hope I have done the same for my children
gifting words of life from my mouth to theirs as they have walked
in the shadow of our steps.
All step into new life this Easter day
Life uncertain, murky like these waters beneath me.
I fix my eyes on the sun rising from the east
that casts a path of light on the darkness
I rise from kneeling on this board on unstable waters
“All creatures look to you to give them food at the proper time.
When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things…
When. you send your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.” Psalm 104:27, 30