by Christine Sine,
This morning, I walked around one of my favourite parks called The Reservoir park because it is built over our local water reservoir. I smiled at the sign by one of the sunken rain gardens proclaiming “restoration in progress”. I walk past this sign almost every day, peer curiously at the garden it guards, but never notice any change. Further around the walk, in another similar garden and this morning there was a man hard at work. Still, no changes were obvious but maybe restoration is just beneath the surface. When it is complete, I still may not see any difference.
I came home, looked outside my office window, and stared in amazement. The huge maple a couple of blocks away has a red streak in its canopy. I watch this tree change every year and that change always begins this same red streak. It is the harbinger of change, the heralder of what will come. In a few weeks, the tree will blaze in a magnificent display of glorious red autumn colours like a lantern attracting all to its beauty.
What a contrast and so reflective of the changes God undertakes in our lives and our world. Change can happen quickly or slowly.
Some change, like that in the Reservoir garden is so slow we are not aware of it. When it happens the changes fit seamlessly into the fabric of our being or of our society and unless we look closely we still cannot see the change.
I reflect back on my own life, awed by the changes I see that fit into this category. From the wrinkles in my skin to the growing closeness of Jesus in my heart, most changes happened slowly and often imperceptibly, especially the changes in my spiritual growth. This morning, I made a list and offered a prayer of gratitude to God. The next step will be talking to a good friend who probably noticed more change than I did. Good to get her thoughts on this and write them down so that when I see something I know still needs changing, I will not get too disheartened. It is so easy to fixate on the bad and not notice the good.
What transformations are you aware of in your life that happened so slowly you hardly noticed them?
Some transformation happens quickly in a flash of brilliant colour no one could miss. Like my conversion experience, my marriage, different stages of ministry from medical practice to contemplative activist. These changes I have no trouble identifying but I still write them down. Wow, there are so many of them! So many times God stepped in with a spectacular display of power and transformed me. These changes often meant a change of location or vocation. These too I am grateful for. Not all of them were easy. Illness played a big part in major changes in my life but it is important to document them all.
What changes in your life happened in a spectacular burst of colour?
Overall a pattern emerges – spiritual changes slow, life changes fast. Ha! I want to reverse that! Why can’t the spiritual changes happen quickly I wonder?
Then my eyes drift to my latest contemplative garden, my “God’s eyes guide me” garden. Last week I turned it around so the plants will not become lopsided as they reach for the sunlight. In the process, I obscured my “God’s eyes guide me” sign. It’s still there. God’s eyes still guide me, but I can’t see them. That’s how God works, I thought. There are times when I am oblivious to God’s guidance and the sweet companionship of Jesus. Perhaps I even resent the change on the horizons, as I do when the days shorten and the temperature drops.
There is a certain relentless love to God’s guidance. It guides through all the good and the bad. It guides in spite of our determination to ignore it or choose our own path. It guides us through all the quiet and the sudden changes, the changes we think we understand and those we know we don’t.
Thank God for guidance and above all for the love that inspires it. Yes, “restoration in progress” and I thank God for it.