Friday, July 4, 2008

I Come To The Garden Alone

"Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." - Luke 12:27

I miss my garden. Today I really needed to get my hands in some dirt and to trim up the jungle that is growing up around all my beautiful flowers and bushes. I needed to go find God where I can always find Him - in the awesome beauty of nature. Johnny is going through a rough period right now. His white blood cell count is a "hair" below what it should be and consequently he is sleeping alot and very weak and losing weight again. His taste buds have changed. I have to force him to eat small bits and drink Gatorade and water to counteract his surprise bathroom visits in the middle of the night. I don't want him to get dehydrated again.

But at least we got that under control by noon today. I give him his pills for nausea and pain and make him comfortable. I make him drink a little protein drink. I take his temperature. I closely monitor him so his temperature doesn't get above 100.5 degrees. But he's fine. He just has to ride it through and hopefully the pattern from the last chemo will repeat itself and he'll be better by Monday. These are the times that try women's souls! When you've done all you can and the rest is in God's hands. So I grabbed my clippers and spade and headed outside for a conference with God while Johnny dozes.

I've been avoiding this moment for awhile because there is so much to do in the yard it is overwhelming - I don't know where to start. So I just start clipping my red blooming Hibiscus bush to clear a pathway through my white picket fence gate that was becoming blocked on both sides from colorful bushes gone wild! With every branch I clipped it was as if a cobweb in my mind went with it. The sunshine and fresh air were clearing the lines for my "God connection." My impatiens, begonias, peace lillies, gardenias, trumpets, dianthysus, poinsettas, mums, lantana, ferns, azaelas, roses, petunias, confederate jasmine, bouganvilla and the rest all beckoned to me welcoming me back.

As with any dreaded project, once you get rolling, one thing leads to another and before you know it, things start taking shape as you chisel the clay away from the masterpiece within. This often leads to so much more than you could have imagined. And so it was God had a MOST delightful surprise waiting for me today. It was just what my soul needed. I have some bromeliads (tropical flowers with big thick leaves and HUGE lovely pink flowers bursting forth from the middle) planted around the angel fountain on my yard's centerpiece landscaping. I planted them there years ago because they stopped blooming elsewhere. They never bloomed again. But because I went to the trouble to clear alot of vines and weeds away - I discovered two huge incredible blooms waiting for me! What a gift from God.

I really believe God was refreshing my soul. He, above all, knew I needed some "spiritual nurturing" today! It has been such a stressful week. My garden experience made me think how similar it was to our everyday trials. God is always right around the corner waiting to renew us with the wonders and beauty of His love. But we have to open the doors of our soul and walk through to Him to find what He has waiting for us. It is always good with God.

As I strolled my yard with God clipping and pruning along, I kept rediscoveriing so much beauty I had forgotten from neglecting the gardens. Butterflies flew by me with airy greetings. Strangled flowers thanked me for rescuing them from choking vines. Squirrels danced amongst the live oaks. Lizards darted here and there. Birds chirped in the sky high branches. And my precious knock out roses were blooming.

They are a hardy bush that survives on its own. Without tending they still continue to straggle along but still burst forth with sporadic pink blooms that smell divine. Well, I guess they are! It's a miracle when roses survive my garden. But "knock-outs" are tough enough. I feel a spiritual kinship with them. "Takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'."

I cut a flower and brought it inside so Johnny could smell it. I put it in a little cup of water on the counter so every time Johnny passed he could bend down and smell it. Then I dug some hibiscus flowers out of the trimmings can because I couldn't bear to throw them away. I found another little vase and placed the flowers in it on the table by the couch where Johnny lay.

After I came in and showered I splurged on a cup of coffee in the afternoon. Sinfully delicous! But as I was brewing my Paul Newman special blend I thought about my gorgeous porcelain cups from Japan that my parents bought me before they left. There they were sitting behind glass in my formal dining room where no one evers sees them. I walked to the glass cabinet and found a lemon yellow cup and saucer and etched with hand painted flowers on it and rimmed in gold. I washed the set in the sink and determined that from today on I use the good china!

I sat in my favorite chair in my Victorian reading room and savored my 90 year old Tresor piano and my flowered wall paper, and my books and framed pictures sprinkled on the end tables besides the ornately carved couch. I sipped from my porcelain cup slowly savoring every sip from something special. Johnny joined me and we talked - almost like old times. This room is where we sit to solve many life problems together in peace.

I sang Johnny two hymns today. "I Love To Tell The Story" and "How Great Thou Art." I still have my Baptist Hymnal from when I started the "Senior Choir" at our church. I wanted to preserve the tradition of the old hymns in all their simple heartfelt beauty. I thought they sounded so poignant coming from the voices that knew them best. Today things have got so modern. People don't even pick up their hymnals anymore because the words appear on the big slidescreen above the altar.

Give me that old time religion! We also did our daily "holy healing session" with the holy water from the spring at Ephesus where miracle healings have happened. Johnny lay stretched out on the couch as I began with a hymn to praise God first. Then I kneeled beside him and read healing scriptures for him to repeat after me. Before I grabbed the vial of precious water I held up my fist and let the devil have a peace of my mind! Whether it is coincidence or not, that little vial seems to jump out of my hands whenever I try to screw the cap back on. I know the devil is messing with me and mighty mad whenever "two or more gather in His name" to glorify God and claim His promises.

Johnny told me he pitied the devil when I was done because I gave him quite a "tongue lashing." He laughed and said the next thing he was expecting was for me to ask the devil for the CEO! (That's a family joke around here - I always head straight to the top when I deal with customer service issues of life!) I ended my tirade by telling that devil to get back to the gates of hell where he belonged with that 1/3 band of God's angels that were stupid enough to leave heaven with him. I told him it was his own fault that he and his "entourage" were destiined to burn in hell for eternity because of their own vanity. So I told him to "GO!" the way Jesus did that one time he cast a devil out of a young girl in the bible. And I reminded him of the authority I had to command him gone as a royal heir to the throne! I also reminded him that he NEVER wins because 2/3 always beats 1/3.

Then I anointed Johnny's chest with the water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as my friend Retha Mae from Varnville, South Carolina suggested. I asked God to use me as a vessel for healing Johnny as I "stand in the gap" for him until he is well.

Tonight we ended the evening with a glorious display of fireworks we could see from from our back porch through the trees. The glorious cascade of electric color in the sky made me feel like a kid again. It made Johnny smile but he couldn't stay out too long. He was covered from head to toe to guard against mosquitoes and his stamina was low. So we went back in and watched fireworks on TV and listened to a great concert from the capitol that captured the beauty of patrotism so well.

I tucked Johnny in early. It's after midnight and Johnny just got up for another long bathroom. I grab the thermometer and the Immodium D and here we go again.

Please pray for Johnny's expedient recovery from this bout of "chemo-storm" round 2. Also keep those cards and letters coming. They cover our kitchen table and counters and walls. Johnny goes back and re-reads each one many times. There are well over a hundred at last count. Each card is a blessing. He loves waitimg for the mail each day. Thank all of you for your continued prayers and support. I return it to you multiplied!

Meanwhile, "my soul waits quietly for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I SHALL NOT BE MOVED." - Psalm 62:5

Beautiful Blessings,

Rene Williams


Elizabeth Bowdren Photography said...

Oh you are such an eloquent story-teller Aunt Rene, but more importantly you bring the reader in close to experience what you're relaying-- I can smell the dirt and flowers, taste the coffee, feel the warmth of that great room of yours... and hurt and ache for Uncle Johnny with the late nite bathroom visits, the fatigue, the utter exhaustion. I wish there was more I could do for you and him. Please don't hesitate for a moment to convy ANYTHING I could do to help! I will keep the cards coming... in the meantime, I am here for you all.

I love you bunches... my heart and prayers are in step with yours always!

Elizabeth Bowdren Photography said...

Also I love the fact that you brought out the "good china" to relish in the everyday... I think we all should follow suite and treasure even the small things of life instead of waiting for an event or a special day or for "when" anything!

Kudos to you!

Scarlett Lillian said...

+1 to everything Becky said! You are an amazing writer mom.