Sunshine, Dogwood trees and summer rains, these are the things of my heart. Their fleeting nature is the appreciation taken from them, a short fix of peaceful reflection in what can seem an unending storm of living. When little else eases the raging torrent that is my discontent soul, they offer solace. I keep their manna fresh, stored in the bins of my heart to sustain me through the famine that is life in between.
Sunshine gifts us with unquenchable hope of the stuff made of warm dreams, too often giving-way to inevitable bouts of bone-chilling gloom. Fragile white blossoms of the same old Dogwood tree too quickly fade from their season but always return in full display of life’s pristine, recurring beauty. An earth-cleansing rain with its sharp claps of a thunder, as if a language only we speak, removes stale disappointments like God himself hoists them into the heavens in commanding our patience. New bird songs cut through its crisp aftermath, lulling our souls into a refreshing dimension of tranquility.
Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. [Luke 12:27]
How content or discontent we are depends on our dispositions, not on our circumstances. [Paraphrased, Martha Washington]
Much the same can be said for love, how short-lived it is. It always ends leaving us clinging to remnants of the rejuvenation it was and what we lay in wait for again. There is no escaping the loss of love unless unexpected demise be some less than desirable trap door.
Perhaps having loved briefly is the less painful, if there be such a thing as less or more pain in losing love. I think it must all hurt the same. Once you’ve loved there is no qualifier of quantity, be it short-lived or a lifetime. The loss is the same, like losing an arm or a leg, the grief is no different. It’s still a loss of a piece of us, none greater than the next. The fact that it is our loss is great enough. How we react to the loss is what separates us.
Surely the loss of many loves at once compounds and complicates the grief. Few would argue that. The jolt of many losses at the same time rightly leaves us momentarily immobilized. I suppose recovery is much the same, we just come to terms with it more slowly, making sense of it one love-loss at a time until we’ve made sense of them all. Like a child with their first oversized puzzle, we struggle with coordination to fit the pieces in their proper place so we can work on the next. Eventually we emerge living in a new picture of life.
Some loves are the sunshine interrupted by gray skies, leaving only shadowy remnants of thorny reminders for what we once thought it was. Some loves, like the stable Dogwood, come back in full glory of its reliable beauty to bloom again and again. Some are finally cleansed by the aftermath of a rainstorm’s calm, gone along with the pain of it. Some will bud anew on the wings of another day’s birds sewing fresh songs.
Sometimes I wish it didn’t take so long, but the ever-changing journey is what gives love its precious value. Could we appreciate as much the sunshine without its contrast of gloomy gray or the Dogwood without its predictable blossoms or either without the cleansing rains. The journey is what makes love worth risking again – or not.