When Hope Holds Up Your Branches

I won’t deny it.

There’s beauty in every winter snow……

even when it falls in spring.

The calendar can’t control its arrival any more than we can.

And with world-hushing power,

it has a way of uniting all creation under its blanket.

Snowflakes slowly pile high, creating magical scenes,

but at the very same time,

they add extra weight to every tree and every bush forced to catch them as they float from the sky.

Bearing this unexpected burden seems to be second nature to our backyard this year

as winter drags on and on.

And this winter has been so very long.

Do the branches ever get weary?

Does the grass ever feel tired?

Do the bushes ever feel bitter?

even angry?

Surely they do……………

at least a little.

When I stand close to any part of God’s creation that resembles the way I can so easily feel,

I want to believe it somehow “gets me.”

I want to think it somehow senses my presence and feels just a little better too……

and a little less alone.

Because aren’t shared burdens a little easier to bear?

______________________

If I’m honest,

I’m a snow-covered bush many days.

Grief is my blanket.

Pressing down on every part of me,

reminding me of what I’ve lost,

it has the power to overwhelm my soul.

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“I don’t know how you do it,”

I whisper to the bush and then I wait.

I hope it has a good answer,

because I’ve heard these words so many times and still struggle to find a good reply.

 I want to believe the bush, who’s endured so many snows through the years,

has figured it out.

But I think it understands the very thing I’ve slowly learned.

These words make no sense.

A winter storm, like the loss of my two children, was never listed as “optional” on the bush’s application for life.

There was no Plan B for the evergreen as the snow fell

and there was no Plan B for me when my children were snatched from this world.

The bush holds the snow as I hold grief,

not because it’s able to but because it has no choice.

 

Grief is my snow.

It’s heavier at some times than others,

and I don’t always see it coming.

When it catches me off guard,

I do my very best to keep my branches from snapping under its weight.

And sometimes that’s all I can accomplish in a day.

_____________________________

It snowed today.

Heavy, wet flakes.

Piling up quite unexpectedly.

My heart felt the layers as they began to accumulate.

Each snowflake a faint memory,

a photograph etched in my heart,

a smile,

a voice,

a hug,

gone forever.

God is good………..all the time.

So the sermon went………….and so the saying goes.

But sometimes, when the snow piles high,

those words hurt.

And today,

I felt their punch.

And I wasn’t wearing gloves to protect myself from their blow.

________________________________

When there’s a 100% chance of snow,

I think the bushes must somehow know……

and brace for it.

I’ve got to learn to brace myself too,

because grief is part of my story,

100% of the time.

____________________________

And maybe that’s the bush’s reply to the comment,

“I don’t know how you do it.”

Maybe it’s simply,

“I don’t do it.  Hope does.”

And like the bush,

the very thing that braces me for unexpected waves of grief is with me all the time…………..

I just can’t see it.

Hope, much like spring, is the invisible force,

holding me up.

Keeping me strong.

Bearing the weight of all the things that feel way too heavy.

Quietly reminding me that winter has no power.

________________________

Hope.

It holds up my branches

no matter how heavy the snow.

And for that I’m forever thankful.

If, like me, you live daily under the weight of grief,

I’m praying Hope is your brace too.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,

so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

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