Sunday, June 26, 2011

Keeping it all bottled up

This is the Cherokee Rose, the state flower of Georgia. It’s a beautiful climber that likes to spill over the fences.  I would love to say that I took this picture in my lawn, but I didn’t. I took these shots during my recent visit to the local botanical gardens.

There's a legend of the Cherokee Rose

The rose, they say, sprouted up along the infamous Trail of Tears in remembrance of grieving mothers. The white petals were made from their tears, and the center from gold taken from Cherokee lands. Seven leaves on each stem stand for the seven Cherokee clans.

It's a sweet little story, but in the end that's all it is, a story.

Maybe it's just me, but I've never thought that legend was very flattering to the god it manufactured.  He seems like a bit of a mocker to me. What kind of a god takes the sorrow of your spirit and scatters it abroad for trail decoration?  I mean, seriously... Who wants to leave behind a trail of tears?    I would hate to think that generations behind me could ever point to my walk of faith and  say, “Yep. That’s where Debbie cried her way through life.”

I’d rather leave a legacy of laughter, of songs of praise and shouts of joy.

But here's the thing:

There have been tears, lots of them in fact, and most of my tears have been kind of important to me.  While I don’t want to be remembered by them, I still would like to know that they were remembered. 

I don't think I'm alone here, either. In fact, I think that sometimes  the one thing that keeps us wallowing in our sadness over something that we can not change is the fear that somehow drying our eyes and moving forward means that our tears will be like our sins, tossed into the sea of forgetfulness...

You know, like they  never mattered at all. To anyone.

And so we're tempted to haul them around with us. At best, like a sticky note; at worst, like an idol.

I'm so glad that the God of Truth is nothing like the god of legend. He has a completely different take on this matter of remembrance.

Psalm 56:8

For one, He takes account of our wandering, a word which properly means to wander in exile... you know, like a displaced person. If you've ever been spiritually displaced, you can understand why the word is also translated lamentation.

And what's more, He puts our tears in His bottle. Now, I'm unsure whether He has a personal tear storage unit marked Debbie or one big huge bottle where my tears mingle with your tears. (I kind of hope it's the second one. I'm sort of a mingler by nature.)

All I know is that once shed, those tears belong to Him. He saves them. What's more, He records them, each and every drop, in His book.

He knows the whole story, folks. In truth, He knows it better than we do.
We can trust Him to remember and move on.

...and He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.
                                                                                                             ~ Job 8:21

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