I like doing this with you, she says, and I look away from the wild roses just beyond us in the yard, their bold red beauty twisting madly toward the limitless sky, jutting elegantly through the slats. Their freedom completely captures me, that and the way they’ve doubled in size, the way they reach in the humid heat and gather raindrops like diamonds in the palm. Stunning, I keep thinking, but God says good, just good.
God made everything so complex, she said, gesturing to the ribbon curl of a leaf dangling over the edge of the flowerpot on the table between us and then beyond, to the roses, the lemon-yellow Finch bobbing on the edge of the feeder. And now she draws me back. I like doing this with you. It makes me feel better.
I look at her, sitting across from me with The Book open across her legs, those sun-gold cheeks that make her eyes seem even more blue, her brassy hair divided into two low pig tails that have long since escaped the boundary of her shoulders. She’s my own wild rose, and I see the whole wide sky reflected in her eyes.
I don’t know, but I think maybe I will treasure up the sight of her like that for some time. It makes me wonder if my mom still thinks of the way I looked those days and nights years and years ago, when we sat next to each other and she rooted and tended and pruned, guiding my tender reach. I know I can still see her, sitting there with those big red-framed reading glasses on the end of her nose, pushing past tired to teach me, drawing a soft olive finger across the thin page, asking me what I think it means, how it will matter in my life. Eternal moments these, the kind that become not just memory but part of the fabric of a soul. I know now that those hours were the best my mother gave me, the most rare and beautiful. Of all her gifts, this one still sustains me most. And just this afternoon, when we sneak away to the quiet of the porch, I tell my own daughter the same thing my mother told me:
On the days when gray clouds stretch across the sky like steel, when life feels heavy and thick like bars—On those days, nothing and no one abides like God.
Nothing roots a daughter strong for woman- and sister- and mother-hood like learning how to reach for God, how to listen, how to hold the wealth of Him in the palms when everything else seems to slip through your fingers.
So, we start simple. Just 1,2,3 Grow. Just the same three steps my mother taught me, and she wants to begin at the beginning, so we start right there—at speaking power and speaking being and Trinity-creating life. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
You know, it says “our image,” she says, and I see the glint of it in her eyes. That’s because they were all there—Father, Son, Spirit—ALL of them, right from the beginning. Her finger glides, and I watch her—soul-beautiful and lit with Light, and all I I think is the one word: Stunning.