Moving down the line each tree looked satisfyingly prophetic about an abundant and joyful present with more on the way for the future. I love Ordinary Icons. Someday I’m going to write a book about them.
But wait...what’s that on the end of the line? Past a bush equal in size to the beloved lilacs is a bush whose name I don’t know. And there, standing maybe four feet tall, two little blossoms on the left side, is a young lilac. A fourth.
I told you last column how lilacs are an icon of righteousness for me; eternal good. They are like us humans. They take a long time to bloom. I told you how I had decided to plant a lilac when I reached a forever home and here there are three in the backyard signifying all the maturity of walking through flat out evil and not letting it change me for the worse.
That’s the lesson us over-comers have for the world. You have to walk through evil and not let it effect you. It can’t make you bitter or discouraged or ,like itself , deceitful or manipulative.
Most of the world’s spiritual, moral and financial strength comes from ordinary people with extraordinary moral fiber who take the hits and keep their integrity.
So...what ordinary icon does the fourth lilac bear? It is the life I’ve always wanted and never had. It is flying with my wings open no matter what, it is setting limits with people who waste my time or my money, it is love like I’ve never known.
Last Wednesday I did the healthiest thing I’ve ever done. I set some limits with people who had exploited my gigantic loving heart.
I love to be loving but there are those dependency based people who will take advantage of it. I told them I would not keep their secrets anymore. For me that is huge. Covering for them, valuing their lives more than mine, letting myself look bad or letting harm come to myself in deference to them is the last shred of healing I knew from my childhood because “He Told Me Not To Tell” when I was a little.
Well, this week I learned how. To protect myself I mean.
At the very moment that act was completed and I was free of covering several someone else’s shame, the Doves that have been cooing in the tree adjacent to the deck ,whom I had never seen, swooped into the tree. The next day one of them came and perched on the deck railing. Later that night as I drove to book club, I saw one perched on the cupola, the fancy part of the roof.
Everybody has something from which they must free themselves. For me it was an unhealthy loyalty to protecting other peoples’ shameful behavior; behavior they themselves were ashamed of. I’m excited to move forward.
“Postscript” The storm was coming towards the house this afternoon. I had to be at home alone. There is a person in my life who baits me at random times to engage me negatively. Do you have such a person? Usually they’re a family member with their own agenda. I knew I needed to lay low and keep to myself or, as my refrigerator magnate says, I was going to ‘speak when angry and you’ll give the best speech you ever regretted.’ I went to the deck to watch the clouds that so mirrored my mood. As the light shifted, the blooms on the tree/bush I couldn’t recognize before came in focus. Pink lilacs that had burst open in the recent heatwave. So I tell you this. There is enough strength and peace to receive from God if you are willing to sit down and receive it.
Five lilacs. I wanted three. God lead me to a place with five.
Ordinary icons...of safety and hope and promise. Amen.