On Waiting and Listening

hammockOutside the window I can see Jon and Jenny prepping a bed. They will be transplanting a tray of lettuce, covering the bed with row cover because squirrels are back to feast on our beautiful lettuce, and adding irrigation lines throughout the Hazelnut Patch. Mark is at the hooding ceremony for his graduating doctoral students, and I’m sitting upstairs where I can longingly see Jon and Jenny from the window.

I’m waiting.

This afternoon I’m having carpal tunnel surgery on my hands. I chose to do both at once, although it is not recommended. My mother-in-law did it that way with no regrets, and I have often figured that if she could a thing, so could I. Unless, of course, we are talking about sewing, quilting, weaving rugs from wool, canning tuna (on my list of things to learn), and making pies.

Besides, doing both hands at once is the quickest way to get back out among the lettuce, peas, broccoli (the first of which is forming a head!), and strawberries (berries forming!). But I’m all spic-n-span and am supposed to stay that way. My rebellious self believes working in the dirt wouldn’t make me dirty in any way that would cause a potential infection, but I am choosing compliance. Which is a good discipline for me anyway.

I’m waiting for other things, too. Far more important things.

A friend is having a more significant surgery today, and I’m praying all goes well both now and later. The daughter of another dear friend is seeking relief for the pain incurable tumors are causing. A marriage I care about deeply is in disrepair, which is such a close word to despair and equally descriptive.

What I’m waiting for in these cases is the chance to be reminded by that quiet, loving Voice that all will be well. To be reminded, as Julian of Norwich said, that all is being made well.

Julian had the long view of what it meant for things to be well.

She was a 14th century English mystic, one of many who wrote of existential hope and sent it echoing through the centuries toward us. Julian spoke hope into all forms of awfulness. She lived during the Hundred Years War between England and France, and survived the horrors of the Bubonic Plague that swept across Europe, killing between 30 to 60 percent of Europe’s population. She is most known for her affirmation that: “…all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

She hears Jesus say: “I may make all things well, I can make all things well, I will make all things well, and I shall make all thing well; and you shall see yourself that all manner of things shall be well.”

That didn’t happen in Julian’s lifetime, and will not in mine, either. But I want to share Julian’s confidence that eventually all will be made well.

I want to wait with expectation, paying attention to how things are being made well. This may sound trite, but it is a truth that affects me in my bones. I see hope and goodness, things being made well:

  • when I find the Fern Creek soil becoming more healthy each year as we tend and plant it
  • when I eat fruit from trees I watched grow from saplings
  • seeing transplants that look like they will die, up and decide to live
  • having asparagus and rhubarb return every year with little encouragement from me
  • finding hundreds of dill plants that emerged from dill seed I didn’t harvest last summer
  • watching bee buzz about and pollinate our food while gathering nectar and pollen

If God sustains the soil that feeds all life, isn’t that like laying a claim on all things? That all things are under God’s care, within the realm of God’s love?

If I listen, and pay attention, I can be reminded that all things shall be well.

Meanwhile I appropriately pray for, work toward, and hope for justice, redemption, healing. But on this day I will also choose to broaden what I listen for, listening for the gentle voice of God reminding me that the wellness I most long for will come someday, not always in the individual stories I want to end a particular way, but someday all manner of things shall be well.




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