Friday, February 22, 2013

What I need to share ... a clover from heaven

It all started with a tired mother's cry for help...

As a new mother four years ago, I found myself in need of guidance.  When I turned to the secular world, I felt a void.  The conflicting messages conflicted with my instincts, so when I tried to find strength in the activities that were supposed to lift my spirits, I ended up feeling more empty and tired than before.

While walking my cranky nine month old (she had undiagnosed asthma and a bad case of eczema, hence the crankiness) to the park one sunny afternoon, I cried in silence to the heavens and asked for a sign--I know, I know, an act of desperation.  I wanted a sign that there was more than just this material word.  I needed a sign that what I knew in my heart to be true was really true.  My body's five senses were crying out for something concrete...where are you Lord, show me that you exist, that my mother and mother-in-law gone on to the world of the dead, are still here in some way with me.  So, I said all this in the silence of my heart; I looked up to heaven, and then looked down again quite suddenly....I felt my carriage veering off the edge of the side-walk as I looked up to the summer sky.  I had started walking more briskly than I had realized and I was heading for the gutter.

As I looked down , simultaneously straightening my carriage and baby, and looking to see if I had stepped in dog-poop....I'm paranoid about dog poop and seem to step in it the minute I'm not paying attention, I saw something that will be difficult to describe.

Actually, I saw several unusual things at the same time and stopped at once to check them out.  I was simultaneously drawn to a patch of clover that seemed to be very lush, but also to one particular clover that seemed to be taller than the others and brighter.  It sounds unbelievable and a little crazy.  I know, because I felt silly bending down to pick up the clover stem, not really understanding what I was doing or why.  I also rubbed my eyes and tried to clear my vision since this clover patch seemed to be glowing in some way.  It was a bright sunny day, but why was the sun, which was right overhead, highlighting this particular part of the landscape?  My mind was racing with questions such as this one, but my body and heart were transfixed by this tiny plant.

I picked up the clover.  I immediately looked to see if it was a four leaf clover (a habit I had from childhood because I had once found one during a very difficult time).

I counted the leaves.  One. Two. Three. No it can't be. Four. This is impossible. Five.  Four large and one small.  I counted again.  I took a breath.  I looked around me to check for hidden cameras, pranksters, anything unusual.  Nothing.  No one around.  Not even the sound of traffic to indicate that any other human was milling around my suburban streets.

There were five.  My heart leaped in my chest.  I smiled broadly.  I scrambled to find a place to keep it safe.  Once we had played in the park and gone home, I put the clover away.

In the weeks that followed, I would periodically look at it to be sure that I had not imagined it.  I went back to that patch of clover several times, to make sure it wasn't a mutant patch full of 5 and 6 leafed clovers.  I looked up five leaf clovers on-line and read about their rarity.  I kept this clover, the awe it inspired in me, and the renewed faith I had because of its 'appearance', to myself.

I pondered in my heart what this meant.  I am still pondering it.
I am not, however, keeping it to myself any longer.

For me, the clover is a reminder of my need to ask for more faith since it was my weak faith that needed to see a sign in order to believe.

It is reminder of God's love for me.  It is a reminder of his closeness.
It is a symbol of many things besides.

Most of all, however, three years later, I can say that it pushed me to see that we all have the world in our hearts.  It is there in its entirety in the people that reside there.  As a mother, I often feels like my heart lives outside my body in my children, forever exposed to the world.

The line in chapter three from Ecclesiastes--He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end--rang true, and so I took it for the title of this blog. The world is in my heart, and I'd like to share it with you.  Also, since my heart is in the world, my focus for these musings will be about my struggles, goals, successes and failures as a wife, mother and educator trying to live a faithful Christian life.

My hope is that in writing this I can help myself live more authentically, but I also pray that in some modest way these words might uplift, console and touch the hearts of those that happen to cross my virtual path.  Moreover, since I was encouraged and helped by many women bloggers and podcasters; this is my way of paying it forward.

Welcome to a virtual expression of my heart.

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