‘You are a tree replanted in Eden.’ Psalm 1 [The Message]
When my kids were little, a kind neighbour brought me two trays of mature irises given to her by a friend. They were all yellow and she didn’t like yellow, so she offered them to me.
I was thrilled. I loved my garden but had no budget to fill in my borders, so these irises – a favourite flower in a favourite colour – were an amazing answer to an as yet unvoiced prayer.
I carefully soaked them in buckets of water as directed, then planted them correctly in good soil and waited.
“I’ve killed them,” I thought. I loved my garden but, not naturally a green thumb, this was entirely possible. I left them where they were and kept hoping that eventually they’d take on a new life of their own.
Much to my surprise after three years, they did! And my garden was dotted sporadically with clumps of glorious yellow irises set amid my roses, fruit trees and bougainvillea.
The problem had been that the irises were “shocked” by their transplant and it took them that long to readjust before they could, again, thrive. Had I given up and dug them up, I would never have seen their joy filled new life in my yard.
The analogy is obvious. My children and I were unexpectedly transplanted to England far far away from our Californian home and everything they had ever known. Like the man in Psalm 1, we are replanted trees and we are in shock.
So actually it is enough just to be. Just to survive. Just to dig our toes into the new soil beneath our feet, drink in moisture, soak up sun (whenever it’s out in our new pluvial climate) and rest. It’s OK just to be where we are, not doing anything particular. The transplant is enough.
What a relief this new understanding has been to me this week, when I seem to have lost my mojo for anything beyond the absolutely necessary.
In the first few months I threw myself into a new church family, making new friends, trying to create community for my kids. However the effort, the determination to make sense of this monumental transplant, seems to have utterly drained my tank. I’m like a child on a tricycle who’s encountered a lip in the sidewalk and every time I try to push myself over it my tricycle just rocks straight back. I haven’t got any push to get me over the hump.
But it’s OK. It’s OK to rest on my tricycle exactly where I am. It’s enough to hug my kids, to keep them warm and fed, and simply for us to exist. Psalm 1 continues:
‘You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
always in blossom.’
As I read this I wondered how it was possible to bear fresh fruit every month. And I felt the Lord tell me this:
“Josie, a living tree is always bearing fruit. It is either manifesting fruit on the outside, or it is germinating fruit on the inside. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean new life isn’t always in process.”
Just like my irises. They weren’t doing anything I could see but they weren’t dead. They were recovering.
So this week’s revelation is this: for the time being and for as long as it takes, it’s OK for the children and me to do nothing. We’re recovering. There’s still life growing when I’m not trying to create it. God’s at work in what we cannot yet see.
Today is enough.