It is cold and dreary as I walk through the garden. It has been this way for a while. The fog is thick and I can hardly see a foot in front of me. As I walk I seek a light to show me the way to a place that is warm and kind…. a place where I can find rest…. a place where I do not have to worry about what will happen next… a place where I can be taken care of and know that everything will be okay.
The trees are thick around me and I often find myself face to face with a tree trunk. Then I have to back up and find a way around it. The going is slow and laborious. Not just because of the thickness of the forest and the heavy fog, but also because of the muddy, slippery and rough ground below. When I am not facing up to a tree trunk, I am clambering over the root of a large tree, gingerly walking over overgrown bushes and creepers or pushing my way through some thorny bushes.
As if all this is not enough, sometimes, the bushes rustle… the tree leaves shake… the tall grass whispers… and I can sense another living being around me. I fear because I cannot see what it is and cannot tell how benign or dangerous it is. Is it an animal? … a snake? … a person? If it is a person, is it a friend? … a foe? I know there are others in this garden too, but I cannot see them. They could be close, or far away, but the fog is too thick right now for me to see them.
When will this journey end? When will I get home? How will I get there when I do not even know the way?
My only saving grace is the light……. yes…. the light.
You see, what I have discovered is that there is a light that shines in the garden. It is bright when you turn towards it. But when you turn away from it, you can hardly see, and it becomes easy to get lost or go round and round in circles… struggling and cutting through the brush in never ending circles until you despair… I know… I have been there.
Yes, in my time in this garden I have come to understand that if I do not follow the light, I end up in a place of the garden which is so much more difficult to navigate that I might as well give up getting anywhere near home. If I turn away from the light and not follow the light, I might as well give up ever getting rest.
So I follow the light as well as I can. Sometimes I still stumble into bushes, and trees… sometimes I fall…but I know that this is way better than the other ways through the garden. I know because I can feel how different this journey has been since I began following the light more closely.
As I walk, I notice that the trees are clearing away, and the fog is lifting. Am I about to get home? It is getting warmer and the ground below a little firmer. The light is getting brighter too… and the air… just a little warmer with each step.
Finally, I get to a clearing… the light is bright and warm… the garden here seems manicured. There are flowers everywhere, and …. there is a bench!
I breathe in deeply, taking in the warm air and enjoying the gentle breeze. A few more people get into the clearing and we breathe a sigh of relief together. We have found a place of rest. They too had followed the light. Some even tell me that they had started off just following me, hoping that I would lead them to the right place. It was not long before they recognized that I was following the light, and they too began following the light.
Was that what I heard moving close by some way back?
Anyway, this is a good place. We sit and have fun together, play a good game, find time to share our experiences and learn from each other how to navigate the safe way through the garden. We are grateful for the light. We spend the night and the next day at this beautiful place, but soon realize that this is not home. We are not there yet.
Now that we have been in this warm place, we can see that we will only experience the full strength of the light when we cross past all the next stages of our journey through the garden. We can now see that even though the light is strong and warm here, its brightness comes from further on through the garden. The source of light is where our true home is.
So, one by one, we get up and start again, going forward, moving through another foggy part of the garden, towards the light.
Jesus Christ is my light. He shines His light for me to see my way in this journey of life. He does this through His Holy word, the sacraments He has instituted through His holy church, the traditions of the church, the experiences and teachings of the saints who have gone before me, and the people He has brought into my life who guide and help and protect me.
I am grateful to God for showing me the light so that I may stumble less and reach safely home to him. Yes… I may stumble, I may fall, but I know I can get up again with His help, and find the right way through the garden.
I am following the light in the garden to the best of my ability. What about you?
Come… walk with me in the Garden.
Copyright © 2018, Ophelia Swai. All Rights Reserved.