Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Because Growing Can Be Hard

Today has the raw edge of spring. Today has the wind that blows away the winter. Today also has the hard things about spring - the painful growing, the spindly stalks of new plants, the fragile heart, the desire to continue hibernating because the sunlight of the truth can be harsh.

Today I found myself wanting, really, really wanting to return to hibernation. I love growing, but when I have to push up out of the ground, when I have to stand fast and not be bowled over by the winds of busy, of anxiety, of overachieving, of perfectionism... then the growing is painful. When the tests come, the ones that measure and reveal how the arable land, the fertile soil, the places where God is going to prune and fertilize and even yank up weeds... those tests hurt. There is no way around it.

Gardens do not become beautiful without the gardener's careful eyes and hands. And today I could feel Him moving. Amid my frustration, and my inability to see clearly, to see what is ahead, to manage my time, to understand, to ask the right and mature questions... I watched in a kind of tired amazement that He is still at work. When I have nothing left to give, no energy of my own, He is tirelessly growing me into His vine. Jesus whispers that the growing will be hard, that it will mean that many winds blow, and many storm clouds cross the sky, and it will rain. But then he says, as I quiver, as I look at Him, face heavy with fears and sadnesses, Behold. I am with you always, to the end of the age. 

Behold, friends. He is here in the midst of April 5 rain. He is here in the midst of windy spring. He is here in the midst of too many questions and never enough answers. Abiding in the vine was never promised to be easy. It was promised to be the meaning of life. Remaining in Jesus? It is not the comfort of this world, the comfort of less feeling, less demand, less responsibility. It is the comfort of Himself. It is the comfort of the Cross. We are being grafted every moment deeper into the true vine, into the One who gives life, and it is not easy. But behold - He is here, in the midst of the growing.

Rainer Maria Rilke wrote to Mr. Kappus about growing, about questions, and his words, though not to me, almost are to me (I copied them in Italian before):

"Here, where I am surrounded by an enormous landscape, which the winds move across as they come from the seas, here I feel that there is no one anywhere who can answer for you those questions and feelings which, in their depths, have a life of their own; for even the most articulate people are unable to help, since what words point to is so very delicate, is almost unsayable. 

But even so, I think that you will not have to remain without a solution if you trust in Things that are like the ones my eyes are now resting upon. If you trust in Nature, in what is simple in Nature, in the small Things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try very simply, as someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more reconciling, not in your conscious mind perhaps, which stays behind, astonished, but in your innermost awareness, awakeness, and knowledge. 

You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

May God grow you ever nearer to Him in these next days and weeks. 



  1. Thank you for this, Hil. I felt like it was God speaking to me through your words.

  2. This was beautiful, and refreshing. Thanks for sharing your heart.


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