Today I left my house in search of a beautiful, peaceful, secluded park where I could enjoy some uninterrupted time in prayer. Unfortunately this past year we have had several floods and many of my favorite places are closed off. I drove for nearly an hour looking for the “perfect spot”, but the “perfect spot” was not to be found.
I ended up being drawn to one of my old places. I knew parts of it were still open. I also knew it was no longer “beautiful”… still partially flooded. And probably packed. I went anyway. I was right. There were people everywhere. It was hard to find a place to park. But I did. I grabbed my things and walked… I ended up here…
This park breaks my heart. I used to come here with my daughter and her daddy. We had so much fun. Do you see that bench in the water beyond the trash can? I sat and watched them play soccer from there. I played on that distant playground with my family!! I used to look out over this little field, my heart full of so much joy! Today it aches.
This field were once green!! These woods, lovely!! But now? The flood was devastating. Even today, so many months later, the water is still high. I used to walk to the end of the ramp and sit on the dock. Just to enjoy the rocking of the waves. The dock is now nearly 100 yards from the shore. I’d have to swim to reach it. The grass here is rotten, the smell, appalling. Like fish and mildew. Everything looks dead.
But it isn’t! All around me are signs of life… People playing with their dogs, children chasing each other on their scooters, couples enjoying each other’s company. Birds flying, wind blowing… I hear laughter, conversations, birds’ songs, lapping waves, distant boats… I know this park won’t always look this way… I know a year from now it will be different…
So why am I weeping on this bench?
Then I realize… It isn’t the park that is breaking my heart at all. It’s what it represents…
My family. My marriage. My hopes and dreams… My heart. All the good times, the joy, the fun, the love… washed away by the pain of betrayal… pain that I once thought I would drown in.
When I look out at this park, I don’t just see the devastation of the floods. I see the devastation the affairs and the divorce have had on my heart. My daughter’s heart. And it brings me to my knees.
Then I hear Him whisper “It will not always be so…”
This park will dry out. The waters will recede, new grass will grow. Trees will flourish. Damaged playground and benches will be replaced. Once more it will be beautiful!!
And my heart? My heart will heal! I will learn to walk in forgiveness, to trust, hope… and one day, God willing, even love again. It won’t be tomorrow. Or the next day. Or even the next. It will take some time… but it will heal.
One day I will look back on this place and see the beauty God makes from this mess. I will mourn what was lost, but I will be grateful for the flood.
And I will be full of life!!
“You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?”
“Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.”
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
“Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.”
“I will turn their mourning into joy;
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.”
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.”
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord,
‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.'”
“For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed”