Spring has arrived in Charlecote – at last! The garden is well and truly alive. Just as well given next week’s quiet day is all about being fully alive. (There are still places available so if you’re free on Monday 23rd April why not join us?!)
It seems like we’ve been waiting for a very long time for the first small shoots of new life to explode into the array of verdant vegetation witnessed today. Why does the vibrancy of a spring garden always come as such a surprise?
Back at the end of March, on Holy Saturday, when we had a full house for our quiet day, the meadow at Charlecote Park was under water and Charlecote Water Mill was almost marooned on its own small island. Spring seemed a very long way off!
However, that day, despite the cold and the rain, most of us dragged ourselves away from the fire (in between the downpours) and out into the garden, to consider the wisdom creation has to offer about waiting.
We also explored through imaginative contemplation what it might have been like to have witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion; to have looked on as his body was placed in the tomb; and then to struggle through the Sabbath with grief and fear for the future. Would we have remembered hearing Jesus’ words about rising after three days? Would we have had any hope that resurrection was even a realistic possibility? Together we wondered what we might have done in this time of waiting.
As we studied both scripture and creation we reflected upon our personal responses to periods of waiting in our own lives. While times of waiting in our spiritual journeys are often occasions of transformation, they aren’t easy and we usually don’t like them. Why?
Often because waiting is a time of letting go of our own agendas and relying on the ‘new thing’ to emerge at the right time. Waiting can be like pregnancy, when there is fear as well as excitement. Waiting can be a time when we are challenged to trust in God’s wisdom more and consequently trust in our wisdom less. Waiting can also be something we become so accustomed to that we don’t actually want it to end because when the next step is revealed it might not be one we want to take.
But repeated experience shows that it is during times of waiting that the best, most profound change in our spiritual lives happens, usually when we aren’t even aware of it. And when it does come, what emerges is way beyond anything we could ever have asked for or imagined. A bit like a beautiful garden on a spring day – who’d have thought it in the mud, cold and rain of the winter?