August 25, 2004 - "Faith Lift" by Maria Harden
Welcome to 2TheHeart!
Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.
-- Phillips Brooks
Maria's story is an example of great faith that I know many married couples have faced and struggled with. I think that her quiet, shining example is one of the reasons her hubby must love her so much!
by Maria Harden
Easter was coming, and though it should be a time of rejoicing, my heart was heavy.
I was about to become an official member of the church I had been going to for some time, but it bothered me that my husband did not share my spiritual beliefs. As a man of science, he is not comfortable with religion, and sometimes our discussions of God's creation versus the "big bang theory" made me feel that we were not on the same wavelength.
It must be true that opposites attract. While my husband is outgoing and loves to socialize, I am introverted and prefer solitude. We have different interests, and yet we have enjoyed a solid, happy marriage for over twenty-five years. For the most part, we respect each other's opinions, other than my wishing that we were more attuned to each other spiritually.
Beyond the picture window, the promise of spring hovered close. My gaze shifted to some houseplants near the front window, and I wondered if my Christmas cactus would ever bloom again. For years it had bloomed faithfully every Christmas, then again at Easter. Two years ago, I transplanted the cactus and it did not take kindly to its new environment. No blooms appeared that year. While it didn't thrive, neither did it die. It just existed.
The following year it was the same thing, so again I transplanted it, separating the roots, changing the soil, and hoping its new potted home would produce blossoms. This time the cactus seemed to perk up, and new growth appeared for the first time in two years. Christmas arrived, and I was delighted to see buds, but to my disappointment, they all fell off before they could burst into their dazzling orange-red splendour.
I felt like that cactus, safe in a non-threatening environment until it was time to grow, except then the growth didn't happen. I hoped we would both bloom when the time was right.
A few days later, I went alone to the candlelight Easter Vigil service. I chose not to tell my husband that I was becoming a church member, as I did not think I could bear his ambivalence. We shared everything else in our lives; why could we not share the same beliefs?
The church was decorated with yellow mums and white lilies. I should get a lily, I thought. Maybe I would have better luck with a lily than the Christmas cactus. I smiled when I saw my name in the church bulletin, welcoming me as a new member, and it inspired me to pray. Lord, lift this shadow from my soul. Show me something to strengthen my faith and make me more understanding of others' opinions.
After an inspirational service, I returned home, feeling both uplifted and downcast at the same time. Such conflicting emotions were giving me a headache. I spied a brown rabbit lying quietly on the lawn, observing me closely as I walked along the sidewalk. Something inside me shifted away from the gloom and doom, and I laughed to myself, thinking, "The Easter Bunny has come!" Was this the sign?
Inside the house, my mood brightened when I saw my Christmas cactus in bloom, its brightness almost illuminating the evening dusk. Maybe this was the sign.
When the family came for dinner on Easter Sunday, my niece brought me an elegant white lily, just what I had longed for. Was this the sign?
Around the table, four generations of family with different likes and dislikes were chattering and laughing, enjoying each other's company. The ache in my heart lightened and I realized just how blessed I was. I looked up from my reverie, caught my husband's eye, and our eyes locked. He wore such a look of love that I almost blushed at the intimacy of it. He winked. Reassurance flooded through me as we gazed at each other, unable to tear our eyes away and break the connection. Differing opinions or not, he is still the man I share my life with for better or for worse, even if he doesn't share my pew.
It came to me that I didn't really need fortifying signs of affirmation, but the Easter Bunny, Christmas cactus, and the lily had appeared to give my faith a lift.
Maria Harden copyright 2004
Maria is a writer at heart who lives and worships in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Check out her other stories in the 2theHeart archives. She is published regularly in a Canadian magazine called "Our Canada," as well as in websites, newspapers, and also the new 2theHeart book.
The Letter Box:
What a neat idea Sharon had - works beautifully! I can not only imagine but also see, thanks for sharing JMunners
2TheHeart, Re: "PASS ME ON"
The only trouble with my new Bible is that I can't find the favourite, well loved scriptures easily, the pages don't fall open there in the new one. Perhaps I need to read different ones. Anybody else have the same trouble?
Prayers, please. We are supposed to be moving house tomorrow and SNAFU - Systems Normal, All Fouled Up. It SHOULD happen, I I have faith it WILL happen, but so many snags have arisen, its going to be last minute going through the system. It NEEDS to happen for all sorts of reasons, and I hope you'll pray with us that the timing is right. The removal van is travelling a long way here and back and they won't want to sit around once loaded. And we don't want to be setting up the bed (alright, alright, we'll be tired) and trying to unpack a cup at midnight.
John doesn't mind, he takes it all in his stride but we're not getting any younger. He's 70 and I'll be 33 again at Christmas.
Love to all my friends
Margaret Drysdale, Yorkshire England
I enjoyed reading the story "Getting Even, Try It" by Sharon Davis. What a wonderful idea that Sharon has with the apples. Unique and as big as big as life! It is difficult to forget it is time to do an act of service when you see the apples calling to you!! LOL Nice story and nice idea.
My applause for Sharon.
Ellie Braun-Haley, Canada
Making a difference, one story at a time!