I awoke on Saturday morning feeling gloomy. My limbs even felt heavy, no motivation and frankly I was short on joy. I attributed my Eeyore-attitude to the weather. The sunny warmth we've been enjoying here in the Mitten had turned a little cooler and much grayer. Add to that my lack of coffee (I know!) I had forgotten to pick some up and was completely out, I blame my sleepless week.
The Mr. & I decided to take a little road trip to Marshall, MI. Lovely little town on my favorite stretch of I-94 which takes you out of metro Detroit and into the prettiest farmland in Michigan. If that wouldn't lighten your mood, what would? We stopped for lunch, did a little shopping and headed home again.
On the way back I soaked in the greening pastures and leafing trees and one of my absolute favorite sights; forsythia in glorious yellow full bloom. Forsythias remind me of childhood and white picket fences around sweet little houses. As we got closer to home the island separating west and eastbound I-94 was a field of forsythia, thick and lush and glorious. All of the unseasonable March warmth has teased our spring flowers into blooms around here. In my own yard I have a few forsythias along our south fence line, I always plan to plant more in the spring and haven't yet turned thought into action. There's a house 2 doors to our north with some out of control forsythias. I mean, these are monster forsythias. These huge shrubs are what convinces the Mr. that we shouldn't plant them, look what they become! Of course, this is just exactly why I want them. :)
On Sunday morning I was less gloomy. I had a cup of Starbuck's Tribute coffee in my hand (the Mr. having restocked my coffee canister.) The weather was warmish, the sun trying to peak through. My mood was better.
I looked out my kitchen window sipping my coffee and admiring the monster forsythias in the neighbor's yard. Then I sat in the family room and admired our few on the southern fence line and guesstimating how many more would fill in the entire length and making my plans, again, to plant them in May when the risk of frost was over.
On Saturday I would've been discouraged by all of those beautiful yellow bushes everywhere and the few lonely ones in my yard. I'd have thought to myself that if I'd started that plan of mine in 2008 I'd ben looking at my own wall of forsythia where I still had empty ugly fence to look at.
On Sunday I had a different thought.
I considered the monster shrubs in the neighbors yard, the carpet of yellow on the interstate and the few in my back yard all my own. All for my pleasure. Everything that I can soak in with my senses is mine for the joy of it. I sat with my cup of coffee and thanked God for the seeing of it, those forsythias of the world. The ones anchored in my own dirt and the ones growing out of control two doors down. And the ones along the interstate. And any I happen to lay eyes on anywhere else. All mine to look at and smile about.
We are more poor than we know and more rich than we imagine. With so much at our fingertips we have become riddled with the disease of ownership. If the flowers bloom on the other side of the fence line, instead of breathing in the beauty of it, I'm sad that they are not on my side. We are destitute of recognizing that all of the world is God's and all created by loving hands for the people he loves to bless. The forsythia in my yard are no more my own than the ones on the side of the highway. They are the property of Abba, shared with the jewel of his creation...us.
Do I still want to plant forsythias along my southern fence line? Absolutely. And lilacs around my back porch while I'm at it.
In the meantime, I will look at them in the back yards of my neighbors and the embankments of the freeways and consider them my own. At least for the moment when I am enjoying the beauty of them from afar.
And may I, in my dreaming, dream more of my heavenly home surrounded by forsythia than my earthly home and southern fence line. This is where I will find my joy.