Reflecting on Gardens….

Today is an England sort of day. It’s raining, but not pouring, and the skies are overcast and grey. So I was drawn to this photo of a beautiful garden on Block Island, taken by my friend Joseph on his honeymoon. The roses are meticulously pruned and really stand out from the surrounding greenery. You can see roses growing close to the ground, shaped as topiaries, and even cascading over a well worn bench. Lavender is planted along the path, adding to the fragrance of the roses. How can anyone resist wanting to stop and pause for at least a few moments? I have never quite understood why the English have gardens and Americans only have landscaping. Our horticultural efforts seldom venture beyond the perimeter of our homes. We seem to create flower beds, or groupings that attract birds and bees, yet stop short of creating a place that attracts people. Perhaps we are too transitory, uncertain of how long we will remain in our current homes, to invest in the time and energy it takes to create, let alone maintain a garden. Yet we cannot underestimate it’s value. Christ chose to spend his last night on earth in a garden, fervently praying and preparing himself for the ultimate sacrifice. When Christ most needed comfort and a place to retreat, He chose the Garden of Gethsemane. Take time today to seek out a garden bench, to pause and pray. Reflect on your current situation and relationships, and allow God to mold and form you for what lies ahead. Take comfort in the beauty that surrounds you, and trust the same God that created this beauty with all your heart. Photo by Joseph Syzdek

Reflecting on Compromise….

Sometimes it feels like things just pile up, one or top of the other. We think we are handling it all very well, until the smallest annoyance sets us off. We lose our temper with the wrong person, or allow that annoyance to spoil an otherwise lovely evening. Summer heat adds to it all, shortening tempers and trying our patience. Even the smallest tasks seem difficult. So I was drawn to this photo of a rock tower, taken by my friend Joseph. There was a rock beach on Block Island where Joseph and JoAnn spent their honeymoon last month. This rock tower was waiting for them when they arrived, patiently built by someone who came before them. Joseph was inspired to make a tower of his own. You can see one small tower in the background of this photo. In the Old Testament, piles of rocks were often constructed to commemorate a certain event, or agreement. We hear how Laban sought out Jacob, who left with Laban’s daughters and sheep, after working for Laban for many years and becoming his son-in-law. They iron out an agreement, to divide their property, and build a rock tower to remind themselves of both the conflict and its resolution. The rock tower Joseph found is much more like those Old Testament rock towers. Instead of building up resentment, rock upon rock, these towers represent the building of trust, the forging of compromises, and the cementing of relationships. So when conflict seems to abound, remember you are in good company. Build up your relationships, rather than allowing the busy-ness of life to tear them down. Take time today to address your grievances as they occur, rather than allowing these concerns to spill over into the peaceful parts of your life. Calmly explain the effect another’s behavior has upon you, trusting they may not understand what they did was hurtful. Talk about how to move on from here, rather than dwelling in the past or blaming one another. With God as our firm foundation, we all can start building our own towers, one rock at a time. Photo by Joseph Syzdek

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