This weekend was a hard one. I could barely walk. My neighbour, a lovely gentleman who cares for his Mother, had noticed I had been struggling and came round to gift me a three wheeled walker his parents had bought but barely used. The enabling gift to help me was the first set of tears. The shock that he had seen I needed it was the second.
On Friday some workman had been to our house and damaged our son’s wildlife garden. In managing his disappointment I had promised him a trip to the Garden Centre for more plants. So despite hobbling along like Yoda at his finest, off we went. Cue the third set of tears at the joy and seriousness H took planning and choosing the materials for his new garden. And the fourth as I couldn’t get up the tiniest of inclines.
As we reached the top of the outdoor area, where the trees were, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the most beautiful tree stood on it’s own, by the path, in an unusual place by the logic of the displays. Almost as if it was put there for me to spot. The label peeked out at me from within the branches. Photinia. I caught my breath. The fifth set of tears, and a deep sense of love and calm. This time, I didn’t try to hold them back. This time, I didn’t bury them, or tell myself I was silly to have them brewing. This time, they flowed.
Photinia is derived from Photine, which in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic traditions is the name given to the Samaritan Woman at the Well we hear about Jesus meeting in John 4. She is one of my absolute favourite Bible characters, someone I relate to, have great affinity with, find greatly misrepresented and come back to time and time again. To have a reminder of her, and all she represents to me, there in the centre of one of the most painful weekends I’ve had in a long while, was so special, and the wrapping of pure care and adoration I found myself in as I wept in while the world turned around me just made it all the clearer. Jesus was meeting me there. I didn’t need to hide any more. He had living water there for me, there, immediately, and He wanted to share it with me in that moment. Whatever the world thought of that.
Of course with two children who want to get home and plant their alpines and a distinct lack of balance, just standing there in the presence of God wasn’t an option for long. But it was enough. Set of tears no. 5 were the last ones that day. But oh were they precious. And no, we didn’t buy the big Photinia tree. But we did pick up a smaller version to bless our home with, to remind us as she grows that God came to walk with me when I could barely put toe in front of toe, to stand with me when I had no strength to hold up on my own, to call forth the tears that needed to flow and to dry them once they were done.
“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony” (John 4:39 NIV). May you believe that God has love for you because of what you read in this blog, too.
Peace be with you.