A parable is literally something “cast alongside” a truth in order to illustrate that truth. The website Got Questions labels the 35+ parables that Jesus told as “inspired comparisons “and then adds that a common description of a parable is: “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning”-a definition from my childhood. Jesus often ended a parable by saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” This was his call to listen to the parables, not just as one would listen to an ordinary story, but as one who is seeking the truth of God. I hope that my little parables inspire that intent in you. (This post was first published on September 20, 2020).
A good friend brought me a huge container of pansies this spring. I put them in the place of honor on a small table on our patio. Because of COVID 19, my sister did my plant-shopping this year. As pink begonias, red and white geraniums, two beautiful gerbera daisies, purple and white petunias, impatiens and three varieties of marigold were brought to my home, I filled pot after pot. Soon colorful plants bordered all three edges of the patio.
Eventually, the pansies were edged out to a spot toward the back of the patio because I expected them to fade away as summer progressed. But they surprised me. They kept blooming. So I watered them and thinned them and, as my husband would say, “loved on” them.
A few days ago, as I was watering all these beautiful flowers and thanking God for their existence, I was shocked to find a pert yellow pansy with purple markings standing proudly in the pot of yellow gerbera daisies. Miraculously (to me at least) the genetic material of this delicate plant had migrated at least eight feet across the patio and found a home with tall and sturdy daisies.
Last week my husband became part the Hospice of Holland program. We are experiencing a flurry of new regimens, new breathing treatments, changed medications, and new (and wonderful) people. He is gradually beginning to get used to the idea that he will not get better. And I am pondering how to ease into thinking and speaking about the reality of the spiritual aspects of this new stage of life -not only for him but for myself as his caregiver.
So as I stood there marveling at the amazing experience this little pansy in my pot of daisies had undergone, it occurred to me that its life is a lovely metaphor for our experience in God’s Kingdom on earth and then in heaven. This little pansy moved from life as a seed into a life of shared occupancy with daisies – all without understanding how or why this transition had even come about. Or caring!
It seems as if we will have a similar experience as we breathe our last breath as humans and move to a forever life with God in heaven. We can only imagine what it will be like. We don’t know how we will get there. But we can believe it will be a more beautiful and fulfilling life than we could ever dream of.
2020 Update: About three weeks after this was posted in September, my husband died unexpectedly at home, as he wished. Even the hospice nurse was surprised at his death, since he seemed to be improving under hospice care. I read him this post after I published it because he loved the transition the pansies made from one pot to another. He has now transitioned to his forever life. When the pansies bloom again in the spring, I will remember the joy they brought him – and perhaps are still bringing.