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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Jesus went to the Garden to Pray

I spent the afternoon at the Cancer Center with my mom and dad. She had her first visit with the Oncologist. We're still not sure if it's Lymphoma or pancreatic cancer, but we liked her doctor. When I picked her up, it had just began to sleet. I sat with her as dad filled out her paperwork. She folded a paper towel over and over as we talked.  I don't want to be afraid to talk to her about what is going on, and in that moment, I had a handle on my emotions so I asked her.... "What do you think about it Mom?" She just looked at me with childlike wonder and asked.... "You mean, what do I think about having cancer?" I told her yes, then she said... "Well, on one hand you ask God why me? Then again you have to ask... "Why not me?" I just nodded. I'm not sure I've ever been more proud of my Mother than I was in that moment. When we finished at the clinic, I had to scrape my windshield, then worry about getting everyone into the house safely. Not willing to take a risk, I pulled over the drive way, across their lawn and pulled up as close as I could get to the front porch.  With everyone safely home, I checked my phone and found my office had closed for the day so I had a cold afternoon off. When I got home, I found my husband had the afternoon off as well. I wrestled with myself for as long as I could wrestle, then finally I put on my ski gear, ran to the basement and told my husband I was going for a walk in the woods. Some friends of ours bought several acres on the edge of town. They cleared a path around their land, making a great walking trail through the pasture around the pond and through a creek. It has become my refuge. By the time I left the house, the traffic had cleared.  Most offices had closed, sending their employees home to snuggle by a cozy fire... Not me! I want out in the middle of it all. When I got past town I kept a steady slow speed, ignoring all stop signs that might trip up my traction. With my fingers tightly gripping the steering wheel and my eyes dead ahead, I was realized I was intense about getting to the woods. I fight my emotions every day, all day long, sometimes hanging on by just the tips of my nails. I know, if I can just make it until my walk in the woods... I'll be okay. I rarely claim that God speaks to me, but when he does, there is no doubt it's him. I can count on one hand how many times I think I've actually heard a word from him... Today was one of those days. As I drove to the woods I could almost hear him say.... "Jesus went to the garden to pray." He did. Jesus did go to the garden to pray. I never really wondered why he went to the garden to pray, I just accepted the fact that he did. He was Jesus, he could have prayed anywhere and I'm sure his Father would have heard him. Why the garden? This is what my heart is telling me. There is healing in the garden. Maybe not physical healing, although there can be, but there is a healing of the heart found in the garden. When my heart is broken, when I feel torn apart and when I fill like my plate is as full as it's ever going to be without something spilling over.... I find healing in the garden. I look forward to my walks in the woods. I'm always at peace when I leave. During the day I hang onto the moment when I can leave for my walk..... If I can just make it until then, I can let it all go. I can cry if I want to cry, scream if I want to scream, pray if I want to pray, laugh, dance or just drink it all in, but there is no judgement in the woods. Maybe that's why Jesus went to the woods. Maybe he needed to get away from the noise of the city. Maybe he escaped to the garden because it was far away from all expectations, disappointments, gossip, rumors and the cold harsh fact that the end was very near. Maybe he was like me, and found healing in the quiet whisper of the evening breeze.

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