A soldier returned to his home from two back-to-back combat tours in as many years.
He returned to family who love him.
But he could not relax. He did not sleep well. He scrubbed things that didn’t need scrubbing. He organized, arranged, re-arranged and made piles for the dump. He pressure washed the entire exterior of his home. He pulled out shrubs from the front flower bed and planted rocks and bark dust… it was “neater that way”.
It seemed he couldn’t stay clean enough, organized enough or busy enough.
I wondered if it was the sight and sound and smell of war that he was trying to wash away… and suspected only time would be able to take care of that.
I see evidence that is happening.
He called recently. His career is great. He has good friends and relationships. He has a beautiful home… and a barn… and even his own private fishing hole.
This year he’s planting a vegetable garden. He planted bulbs last fall and waits to see the blooms. He planted flower boxes on his back deck and scattered wildflower seeds around his property.
How delightfully random of him. No more rock gardens for this soldier. He makes me smile.
And I’m encouraged.
Because there are days when life feels rather rock garden-ish to me.
I plant and sow. I give what I know to give. And I still see rocks.
Sometimes I ask God if he couldn’t, just this once, speak audibly. Tell me if I’m doing ok… or not so much. Tell me how I can do this job better or different… or maybe show a glimpse of something to hold on to. But he doesn’t seem to work that way.
I guess that’s why they call faith… faith.
Instead, He brings to mind a man who lives with chronic illness every day of his life. And I’ve never met anyone with more hope and ideas and plans for the future as that man.
He brings to mind sons and sisters who struggle and choose to keep on keeping on. How can I do less?
And then there’s that phone call about wildflowers and fishing holes, which sprouted out of war and rock gardens.
It takes time. I need to remember that… to get to where the light is.