Monday, May 2, 2016

On Cherries and Death~

I've never thought about cherries and death in the same thought before. Really, do you suppose anyone has? And yet, yesterday, as I was picking cherries from our cherry tree, these two things - cherries and death - were tumbling over and over in my mind and blending together.
Trying to intermingle them both in the same thought might seem like quite a stretch.  But honestly, here in this new place of trying to make sense in my mind of what often times seems senseless to my heart, is truly the greatest stretch of all.
I hadn't planned to pick the cherries. What started out as me simply grabbing the hose so I could give the turtles some water, led me to the side of the house and the cherry tree.  Reaching down to grab the nozzle of the hose, I found myself looking up from under a canopy of green leaves, dotted with cherries.
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Not ripe cherries.  Not quite ready to pick cherries. But, cherries red enough to be attracting birds who were willing to take a test bite to see if these cherries were "done".
"Crazy birds. Only a peck on this one and a little bite on that one.  Just enough to ruin the entire cherry! These aren't ready to be picked yet.  They could stay on the tree a little bit longer, but in order to save them from the birds, I think we should go ahead and pick them now."
You had spoken these words to me last year.  And, the year before that.  And the year before that.  And, as I stood there, I could hear you speaking them again as plain as yesterday.
So, I pulled the hose around to the back of the house, filled up the water dish for the turtles, and then headed back to the tree.
And, that's when it hit me:  This out of the blue notion of cherries and death somehow fitting together, somehow helping me take the broken pieces of my heart and fit them back together in a way that made sense.
As I stood on tiptoes, grabbing hold of one the highest branches and pulling it down to me, I felt my spirit reaching up as far as it could stretch to grasp a spiritual truth. As I  began to pluck each untouched, unmarred cherry still clinging to the branch, my memory was pricked by a scripture I had pondered over twenty-two years ago when your sister, Mary, passed away of cancer at the young age of 43.
Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. ~Isaiah 57:1
As this long-forgotten scripture resurfaced in my heart, I heard the words you had spoken year after year.
"Crazy birds. Only a peck on this one and a little bite on that one.  Just enough to ruin the entire cherry! These aren't ready to be picked yet.  They could stay on the tree a little bit longer,but in order to save them from the birds, I think we should go ahead and pick them now."
And, I thought about you.  61. Not young, but certainly not old.  In my humble human opinion, you were one not quite ready to be picked yet.  And we both know, if it had been up to me, I would have loved for you to stay on this earth quite a bit longer.
But, could it be -
the words of Isaiah are words that not only apply to your sister, but to you, as well?
Could it be, God, in His mercy and tender kindness was protecting you from the evil to come?
As I bent branches low, and plucked one unripe cherry after another, I couldn't stop wiping one tear after another.  And, I tried to understand the timing of harvest; taking now to prevent what might happen then.  Taking too soon before it becomes too late.
And, while it might be a stretch - a huge stretch indeed, to mingle cherries and death in a spiritual way, this new revelation brought peace to my heart.  It eased the heartache of missing you just a bit.  It opened the eyes of my heart to see a sliver of blessing peeking out between the dark clouds of sorrow and grief.  It caused me to look deeper, to understand greater, to appreciate stronger the heart of our God.
"He died way too soon."
"His life ended way before it should have."
"He was taken too early."
Written in cards of sympathy, spoken to me at your service, shared with me even still, these words always accompany news of your passing.  And until yesterday, until I stood beneath our cherry tree, plucking cherries that weren't quite ripe, these words hurt.
But now, I see them from a different angle.
I see them as a reminder of the goodness of our Heavenly Father.  I see them as proof of His tender love for His children.  I see them as a most precious gesture of protection and watchcare. I see them as words that bring healing and comfort.
And maybe, just maybe, this connection between cherries and death is the first step in me beginning to find peace in the pain.
And, I can't help but wonder what you would say about this "revelation".
If only I could tell you.  If only I could . . .

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As I sort my way through this season of grief, I am coming to realize all the more, the precious gift the Lord gave me when words and His precious Holy Spirit mingle together. Wishing a million and one times a day I could tell my handsome honey something that happened, something I'm thinking, something God is doing, etc., I have started a new blog entitled, "If Only I Could . . .". I will still write here, but when I feel the need to write a post from a grieving place, I will post at my new writing place.
If you would like to follow me on this new journey, a journey of loving, missing, and living beyond, you can find my new blog, "If Only I Could", here.  You can also follow this new blog on Facebook  HERE.

Thank you so much for all the prayers, you, my faithful reader, have spoken on my behalf.  God is hearing and God is answering,  And me, I am so very grateful.




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2 comments:

  1. Hi Stacy--I've been kind of lax in the blogosphere lately. I had no idea of your loss. I'm so very sorry. Praying that you will feel God's presence, receive his strength and rest in his comfort.

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  2. Hi Stacy, thinking of you, lovely heartfelt post. Our God is so good that even in the darkest of times He reminds us He is with us.
    God bless
    Tracy

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