The Blessing of Allergies

Today has me inside. I ventured outside this morning to pick the dandelion blooms and halt their full development. Across our bumpy, hillocky, rock-here-and-there yard I went–in search of those frowsy, bright yellow bursts. A slip on the mossy slope surely gave me a bruised knee, but I also collected a “bouquet” of blossoms. All of that proved more than enough to start me sneezing and making a bee-line back inside for a tissue.

Still, there were plants to be watered! I filled the watering can several times and, plant by plant, gave each one a cool drink (and each one a sneeze “blessing”).

The last watering can was for our bird bath. It sits beneath a maple tree and the birds love an afternoon splash. I’m not sure any bird would have wanted to splash around in that bird bath right then though. If there were a Water Purity Board for bird baths, ours would’ve been on the Hazardous-Zone list! The surface was a cloudy mass of pollen and a larger grid of maple seeds and small twigs. So, out went the old water in a waterfall onto the ivy and then went in the clean, clear water.

Of course, this brought on another bout of sneezing.

So–enough outside time!

Inside, I can still see the outside and still enjoy the shades of new green on the ivy, the new tree leaves quivering in the gentle breeze, the sifting of white pollen floating across the window… and wonder…

Just what is pollen?

The stuff of growth in plants.

The reason I carry a tissue in my back pocket.

The catalyst for sneezes and itchy eyes.

Funny–how growth and trials go together…and yet ~

Don’t growth and trials often coexist in our Christian walk?

It’s often steep and awkward.

It includes some hands-for-others work, some ego-bruises.

We need tissues from time to time.

Our eyes become red.

But that’s not all that’s happening! Consider Romans 5:1-5:

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” 

Justification. Peace. Access. Endurance. Character. Hope.

Wow! Since we’re talking horticulturally, don’t you know those are Best of Show-worthy blossoms! I certainly want those flowers in my garden, in my life. You, too?

Well, as any good gardener knows, beautiful gardens take work. There’s compost to add, soil to turn, weeds to pull, plants to stake.

But there’re also vegetables to pick, fruit to harvest, flowers to enjoy.

And there’s time to wonder.

Our God made the microscopic filament of pollen.

He made it not so light

that it floated on forever,

never landing,

but just light enough

to sail through the air,

falling into the open fertile soil

of a crack in a wall.

Everything grows with God.

He can use any thing, any one, any situation, any where.

He can even use sneezes and red eyes.

So, let’s keep our eyes on Him. Let’s keep our eyes, as Hebrews 12:2 encourages us ~

“…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Heaven ~ no pollen there!

Let’s rejoice in the hope of physical and spiritual blossoms to come and the even more brilliant hope of heaven!



First Day of Spring ?

Today is the first day of spring, and this was the view out my window–not exactly “spring-like” according to my definition:

IMG_2023I would have a light, bright blue sky dotted with fluffy, white clouds. Robins would be hunting worms in the yard and sparrows would be singing in the trees. Crocuses would be blooming and the forsythia would be just about to  burst out in a mass of yellow. The sky would be a light, bright blue dotted with  fluffy, white clouds. But–uh oh!–I forgot–

I’m not in charge! (Ever done that?! Please say yes!) Situations–my life–might not be as I would make or prefer, but my perspective is earthly and flawed; my vision is limited. I may want blue skies when snow if falling, totally unaware of some greater need or reason.

So, enough of my imperfect and flawed plans. “This is the day the LORD has made,” we read in Psalm 118:24.  “Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

I may be wearing flannel-lined jeans and a wool sweater, but I will rejoice in this first day of spring the Lord has made for this year. I will paint my toenails robins’ egg blue. I will put a new bar of soap at my kitchen sink:  cucumber and lemon grass. I will have a salad of tender lettuce leaves and a cup of tomato soup for lunch. Then I will curl up on the sofa under a cozy blanket and watch the snow continue to fall, and I will remember that the LORD is the great Creator. What better way to begin the birth of a new spring than with a fresh wash of pure white. “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7) Let’s rejoice, and be glad in this day the LORD has made!