In my side yard stands a rough, old stone wall. It is surrounded by untended, vine-like plants and bushes. Without fail, every spring, these forgotten stems and branches yield new growth. It's really a tangled, confusing mess of different weeds, creepers and flowering bushes. I have no idea how old the wall is or who planted what grows here...but this is my fourth spring in this house, and I've grown attached to my little jungle.
I enjoy the lilacs, the tulips and the blue bells that return every year. I've counted 13 different kinds of leaves in this 15 foot square corner of the yard. I've photographed the bare limbs in winter and the dewy leaves after a summer rain. And I adore some of these branches that find themselves covered in reddish-orange berries in the fall. Year by year, season by season, there is beauty here...an in-spite-of kind of beauty.
Beauty in spite of neglect.
Beauty in spite of disorder.
Beauty in spite of chaos.
Beauty against all odds.
It's this - this unexpected bud that emerges in spite of it's gray, dead, stiff, knotted and scraggly surroundings - this is what attaches me to this unremarkable corner of my world. I'm reminded that good and fresh can emerge in spite of evil and indifference. I'm reminded that emptiness and pain can give way to abundance and love.
In this I see the arms of the rescue worker tirelessly lifting fallen stone.
I see the body of the teacher laying atop their students.
I see the face of the child being pulled from the rubble.
There is so very much we can't explain in the world. We can plan, nurture, organize and cultivate. We can build well, live well and love well. But bad/sad/hard/horrible things still come.
So today, as I mourn with those who have lost their most precious ones...as I ask the questions that have no answers...I will also remember to hope. I will remember gratitude and kindness and community.
I will look for the beauty that emerges after the storm.
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