The first glad this year was sending a geyser of pointed buds straight up through the tangle of roses, and I saw it there, but my mission that morning was trimming the spent, not gathering glorious. Later, my sweetheart clipped it and brought it in to me with a smile. Creator-arithmatic has multiplied that joy many-fold from a five-dollar Wal Mart sack of bulbs.
Glads are a flower of my childhood, remembered first along with iris and dinnerplate dahlias and dripping wisteria and a prickly little tea rose. For years I could not recall them without that bitter root, braided of sadness and shame and trouble and yes even anger in those early years, choking any good or pretty. The red clay seemed sown with curses and questions- what lovely could spring from it?
But this woman, she said to see the art in life we have to frame it. We get to, we can participate with our Creator Father in making life an artful journey, breathed into by Him. So over my shoulder, I can look back and see that sad and broken child. I can sketch her tangled hair and trembling chin and set her in a frame. And at the same time I can know.
There were glads too.
That child was sad and things were not as they should have been but she was surrounded by beauty, and had a God-given and keen appreciation for it. And THAT, that is what I hand down to my boys, as we pause over the ruffled petal and smooth fingers over a river stone and mix paints and make make make. My life in a frame shows that though fed ugly somehow I grow to see blessing, though my vision is weak I see artistry. And all this is His gift, that I can hold up a frame, a four-cornered measure of unmeasurable grace.
My glads in my own grown-up garden were fairly panting in the heat last year when Ann wrote this, remembering her mother-in-law, framing the grief and the emptiness. She wrote:
“I will leave her August spoon out on the sill and come her day I will cut glads and everything may be gone but love can always still grow old.
You can always quietly go on loving what is already gone and this is the way the emptiness fills.” Ann Voskamp
I thought of this when I slipped this first glad into water. Despite the emptiness of loss, the loss of what-never-was or what-has-slipped-away, we can go on loving, perhaps the most patient art of all. When we frame this rugged, ragged life in His love, somehow, the landscape. . . blooms.