Drifting magnolias

It felt like a very long winter this year…

But as the light began to increase, and the temperatures did too, and the world came back to life in gardens and trees in the neighbourhood, I felt my spirit lift and rejoice.

I love the month of May. My energy matches the burgeoning flowers, there is a bounce in my step that wasn’t there during the dark and dreary days of early spring when the snow still flew and the skies were still bleak and grey despite what the calendar said.

The magnolia trees always make my heart soar.

When their buds finally bloom, they are glorious – they take my breath away. I kept my eye on them as I walked my neighbourhood, wondering when they would bloom and when they finally did, my eyes and my heart feasted on their beauty.

This past week as I walked the ‘hood, I noticed that the magnolias were beginning to let go of their beautiful flowers. The flowers that had once been so stunning in their colour and in the shape of their delicate petals were falling to the ground… and turning brown. They were dying.

I felt a lump well up in my throat as I observed their quiet, gentle demise.

What was going on with me? Why was I so sad about seeing the magnolias drop their flowers?

As I searched inside, I realized that the Spirit was stirring some places inside where I was holding some sadness about losses.

Often we try to ignore our grief, keep ourselves busy and distracted from the pain. But I believe that God invites us to sit with our sadness, and acknowledge the pain and the grief. The grief of having to let go…

… of knowing some life dreams will never be realized…

…. of relationships…

….of our physical, or cognitive abilities…

… of our aging parents…

….or our sweet, elderly cat slowly dying of kidney disease…

….of a job we loved…

….of our kids…

… of our own years of youthful vitality.

The pain is real. If we look at the Psalms, we see many that speak of lament. God’s people crying out to him about the injustice of life, the sadness, the pain, and their anger. And we are invited to do the same. I think that if we bottle up, suppress or deny our grief, it comes out in other ways. Unhealthier ways.

So, despite the fact that grief hurts, I chose to spend some time sitting with it and pouring out my sadness to God, who cares for me. God cannot change what is going on. But I can be assured of His loving presence as I weep over the lost things in my life.

“The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Ps.34:18