The horses clipped the early spring grass right at the roots. Their eating opened the earth just enough to release the beautiful aroma of life damp and musty.
Walking out in the pasture alive with blooming weeds, my middle finger was held firmly in the grip of a two-year old wearing Tevas and asking questions. As we made our way to the big bay gelding grazing near the pond, our hair brushed back out of our faces by a southern breeze. We walked side-by-side before she let loose to run ahead of me. Washed in sunlight, my heart swelled to the memories of the days of my youth when I lived in oblivion to a world outside of the fields I explored, growing up wonder-lost in the creation.
On Saturday I entered a sanctuary.
I called the time Sabbath the evening before when the sun slipped to night.
It wasn’t my plan to spend the Sabbath in the country. An unexpected call to be grandmother for the day lent the opportunity to take my grands out to the country to see their uncle’s puppies, visit great-grandparents, take a walk in a field.
The Sabbath looks back and it looks forward. But most importantly, it rests in the now.
Walking along, watching my Sunshine run ahead. I lagged just behind, my heart snatching up a bouquet out of the dirt of my memories. I reflected on how God had drawn me close as I had grown in hay pastures tall with sagebrush, among horses, and creek beds.
We picked daffodils flashing yellow manes surrounded by orange faces. As I plucked a sweet smelling bouquet, my little one reached down and picked up a crusty old cow patty, held it high for me to see. She exclaimed with joy, “I found a nest!” Laughing, I tell her to throw it down. No doubt she had seen a resemblance of a nest in the hay and dust she held up with pride.
She returned the dung to its rightful place in the circle of life, went on searching for other treasures.
I whisper a prayer to the One in the sanctuary, “I wish she were old enough for me to teach her what I know---that her nest is about the business of returning to dust. Someday it will again be one with the earth, redeemed and life giving.”
They say (whoever they are) that stuff happens. Actually, they don’t say it exactly that way. But it is true enough. A lot of people are cynical and hopeless because of it. They never see that all that stuff is in the process of redemption.
God does bring beauty from ashes, from dust--- from outright refuse. It happens but often it takes time. We know we have limited amounts of time so we are often unwilling to believe that God makes everything beautiful in its time. We live in unbelief and our sin turns to cynicism. What we miss is the opportunity in the moment, to let the fleeting now fertilize and grow our hope for what will be in the future.
On Saturday, for a few minutes in a pasture, I lived like my now would never end, like my gratitude-swollen heart could bask forever in those sunlit moments with my sweet little joy. For a few minutes in a field, I lived like the days that will come after this body turns to dust and I live in God’s presence in the eternal sanctuary.
I reach to eternity on the Sabbath and I find it.
What wonder we would find if we consecrated daily the whole our lives to God? How would we see differently? Would we embrace weeds, and the wind, and dirt? Could our seeing be so innocent to see truth in the midst of the stuff---to see nests instead of cow patties?