This week, I have been posting on the theme of “blessings in disguise.” I got a bit behind and still needed to post my “Saturday Story” although it’s Sunday, and couldn’t think of anything. Yes, there have been a thousand and one experiences like that in my own life, but I think they would take too long to tell.
So I asked my daughter, who devours as many books as possible on any given day, if any of the books she’s read recently are about blessings in disguise. She said she didn’t know and I went back to the drawing board. She bounded into the dining room a minute later, however, to let me know that she thought of “Where the Red Fern Grows.”
“Is it about good things that happen even through bad times?” I asked her. I read that book so long ago all I could remember was that it was about a dog, and it was sad because a dog died.
“Did a dog die?”
“Both of them died,” my daughter told me, “but then a red fern grew where they died.”
“Why was that special?” I asked.
“Because of the legend,” Jessica answered. I asked her to get me the book, and while she was searching for it, I Googled it. It went like this:
“I had heard the old Indian legend about the red fern. How a little Indian boy and girl were lost in a blizzard and had frozen to death. In the spring, when they were found, a beautiful red fern had grown up between their two bodies. The story went on to say that only an angel could plant the seeds of a red fern, and that they never died; where one grew, that spot was sacred.”
I found that quote courtesy of Goodreads. That particular quote got 27 “likes.” The following quote got more likes than any other for the book – 61 likes:
“After the last shovel of dirt was patted in place, I sat down and let my mind drift back through the years. I thought of the old K. C. Baking Powder can, and the first time I saw my pups in the box at the depot. I thought of the fifty dollars, the nickels and dimes, and the fishermen and blackberry patches.
I looked at his grave and, with tears in my eyes, I voiced these words: “You were worth it, old friend, and a thousand times over.”
I’m surprised my daughter thought of that book. It’s not the more obvious kind of “blessing in disguise” — to lose a pet, two of them actually. But then I thought that, regardless of the pain and sorrow of loss, love is always worth it, a thousand times over. And then some. Love is its own blessing. Its own reward.
And in that place where love is, angels are. And it is always sacred.
“Come to the treasure, you who search and you will search no more.” This line from Tenth Avenue North’s song “Love is Here” brims with meaning.
One parable from the Bible that didn’t make much sense to me as a child was the following:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46).
Maybe it’s because I was never into things like shopping and jewelry. Selling everything you own … For a piece of jewelry? For nothing but a pearl? Who on earth would do that?
Only someone who recognized its true value.
Few would see such worth in a pearl. Just as few see such worth in the Kingdom of God.
Who would risk everything they have for that? For something intangible. Vague and hazy as a morning mist.
But when the true Dayspring rises, a Dawn that spreads across the sky illuminating all that has been in shadow for so long, all the kingdoms of the world will dissipate like that morning mist. And all that endures the Sun of the Morning will be deeds done in the Name of this one enduring Kingdom.
Acts of Love.
And yes, even selling all you have for that one pearl of great price. Or giving it away.
Reckless? Perhaps. As reckless as the decision of the Son of God and God Himself to take on a body that can bleed and bruise, to die for the sake of those he loves.
You and me.
What is such an unrequitable gift worth? How could one even begin to repay such an eternal deed? Perhaps by counting all other things as loss, worthless, and fleeting compared to that one priceless pearl.
Perhaps by seeking that sole treasure … and finding that in its presence, all others fade. No more need to search. For you have found that which you have been seeking all your life.
I listen to you teach. I watch you smile and laugh and I notice the words you choose.
I see your pictures on Facebook and read your posts. Sad. Happy. Angry. Questioning. Alone. Hopeless.
And I wonder.
Do you have the same hope as I? When I discover that you don’t, through the things you say that reveal your heart, my heart hurts. Because it isn’t just hope that I have.
That there is a purpose for your life. That you have a soul, a spirit, within you which will never fade. That you are known … Every thought and heartache and question and decision. And that you are loved. So completely.
As you meet my eyes for an instant, I think that I, if only for a moment, understand. I see. And I want you to see what I see…. to know what I know.
Of a Love that reaches into the deepest part of you, and makes it new. Of a Love that recreates you. Gives you purpose. Meaning. Truth. Of a Love that never leaves you.
Can I speak to you of it? Just this once?
If you’ve tried a thousand things … Or have been too afraid to try even one … I promise you this is different.
It will change your life. Forever.
Quotes on the Relationship between Purpose and Love …
There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved.”
“To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.”
“Because when we Love, we always strive to become better than we are.”
“You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.”
“It is love which keeps us alive, since it alone makes life lovable. It is love which saves; it is therefore love which must be saved.”