The heat is on.
The fire is raging.
The ground is charred.
The smoke is dense.
The moisture is gone.
Then, and only then, certain plants awaken. These plants sit for decades inside of the earth. They wait until fire activates their seed. Crisis is their trumpet call to explode open, emerge, and populate destroyed ground with new life. In the context of gloom, doom, smoke, and destruction - some things bloom. The charred land is a nest to gorgeous stalks of new life that dare to press through the dead-end soil to create new terrain. Life must go on. Someone must carry it forward. Someone will. Someone does. Who?
Pyrophytic plants; plants activated by fire.
Life is designed to generate more life.
Deep in the ground, the soil of our own souls, there is new seed sprouting that will see the light of the day for the first time, thanks to the intensity of what you and I are surviving now. If we will dare to be the seeds that allow fire to activate us, we will be the first to populate our land with fresh beauty.
Have eyes to see, beloved. It is all opportunity.
Look to the pyrophytic plants! Look and learn.
"Perhaps the most amazing fire adaptation is that some species actually require fire for their seeds to sprout. Some plants, such as the lodgepole pine, Eucalyptus, and Banksia, have serotinous cones or fruits that are completely sealed with resin. These cones/fruits can only open to release their seeds after the heat of a fire has physically melted the resin. Other species, including a number of shrubs and annual plants, require the chemical signals from smoke and charred plant matter to break seed dormancy. Some of these plants will only sprout in the presence of such chemicals and can remain buried in the soil seed bank for decades until a wildfire awakens them." Reference: https://www.britannica.com/list/5-amazing-adaptations-of-pyrophytic-plants
Recently we celebrated the home-going date of my daughter, Ruby Joy. Aimee came with me to Ruby’s grave for the first time. It was a striking experience. The countless hours of history I have there with empty arms collapsed into the redemption of arms now full. Meanwhile, the remains of one life beneath the ground groaned for justice into the breath of our lives above ground. We grieve because we love. We all still love each other. Our family is separated between two worlds.
Life is not fair.
It involves pain.
Grief is a part of it.
My daughter, Aimee, was born into a family that has loss. I often wonder what this will be like for her. She has a sister whom she never met. Aimee’s family has traditions around graves, cemeteries, grief days, and remembrances. I wonder how this will shape her, if it should shape her, if she would be better shaped without it. My sisters have long been my closest friends. I would be sad to know that I had a sister I never met. This is the world that Aimee inherits. I wish I could shield her from the painful side of life, and spare her the inheritance of what we all would rather live without – grief and sadness.
And yet, this is reality.
I live with a loss.
To hide it is to hide my own soul.
We all have sorrowful spots in our stories.
To hide one’s sorrow is to deny one's own soul.
I cannot shield Aimee from reality, but I can introduce her to the One who is steady in it. Denial, secrecy, avoidance, numbness, and separation of heart are a gift to no one. Honesty, transparency, vulnerability, and truth are a gift to everyone. The inheritance that we have to give to those we love that matters is faith in Christ Jesus.“Come along, baby girl. I want to introduce you to the One who sat with me at this grave for years, never once giving up on the hope that you would someday come.”
Grab a pen: Is there a sorrowful spot in your story? Is it something that you hide or share? What are you afraid will happen if you share it?
There is great healing on the other side of being known.
My Grandma turned ninety-five this week. My baby girl is a few weeks shy of one. Ninety-five and one. We visited one another. As the two sat together, I was struck by the sight of a near century touching. They were six inches in proximity, then two, then one, then none. Kisses. Ninety-five and one.
Both wanted to hold.
Both wanted to touch.
Both wanted to giggle.
Both wanted to play.
Both wanted the time to extend –
And not waste away.
If time could crunch, it did.
When it did, I saw –
That from the beginning to the end of our lives –
What really matters is not what we build, achieve, or even dream.
It’s who we hold –
For how long –
And with what love.
Ninety-five and one.
Grab a pen: Where is your emotional energy going these days? Are the people you love prime recipients or parched companions? What is one thing you can do this week for someone you care about? Father God, I call back my emotional energy, help me to invest it well this week.
The story behind the story in every season of our lives is our relationship with the Father. The circumstances present one thing, but the core narrative is unfolding within.
Father, if you are willing, take this cup … (Lk 22:42)
Father, forgive them … (Lk 23:34)
Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit … (Lk 23:46)
In the midst of false accusations, a threat to His life, belittlement from religious leaders, cruel words, betrayal from His friends, abandonment from the company of people He was doing life with, beatings, slashes, torment …
Jesus kept talking to the Father.
He was obedient to the Father's voice.
Even when no one else understood.
In my own life, I return this weekend to the Father. In the midst of my own waves of feeling misunderstood, accused, abandoned, disrespected, alone – I stop.
His wild and persistent belief that I am enough.
His validation of me -
of you -
Our bright opportunity to entangle ourselves on purpose in the Father's loving and supportive care. He is the champion in our lives who never for a moment transitions into disbelief and belittlement. He is always for us, inviting us to be with Him.
Come along, Friend.
Let's return to the Father.
The story behind the story.
Jesus and the Father.
With love on Easter,
Katie Luse is a speaker and writer who is passionate about navigating life with eyes on a hunt for beauty.