The Surprise in the Little Wooden Box
“God hides things by putting them all around us.”
~Author Unknown ~
Such was the experience I had recently in my own front yard. I never cease to be amazed at how God can shape and reshape our thought process, and how ordinary days get presented to us wrapped in the most colorful ribbons when we think we’re only opening up an ordinary paper bag.
The early part of last year I started out on a brief photo session hoping to find an adequately spring-ish spot or two to showcase a new treasure I’d received – my BELOVED Field Guide . . . a simply elegant box with the words artfully etched into the lid and tied up neatly with a raffia bow. I’m thinking, “Okay, I need something green and flowery and exquisite to be a suitable background for the little gems held within this wooden box”. I had just read every word printed on every card inside my newly acquired “treasure box”, and I could hardly wait to find the “appropriate” setting to convey the beauty and joy, the excitement and inspiration, and even the tears of understanding that were tucked into a seemingly simple little wooden box.
So I set out on a little personal photo assignment to find the “perfect” spot. Thinking I would find something green and in celebratory bloom, I found my pansies that had bravely lasted through winter. “Hmmm, these will work for a start”, I thought to myself as I worked with this spot and then with that angle to find the “right” light and the “right” bloom.
The beauty of love ...
A few minutes later I walked to the flower bed at the base of the pecan tree where the crocus were beginning to bloom. Again, I’d work with the changing light and the breeze toppling over the box to find just the right vantage point.
The newness of love ...
After exhausting that location, I stood up and looked around to survey the front yard . . . the Bradford Pear trees were just starting to bud but weren’t yet blooming . . . the rose bushes were starting to yield just the first bits of tender, green leaves . . . and the oak trees were still quite bare. What to do? What to do?
The light would not be too long from fading, and I wanted to try to get a few more images. I walked over to one of the oak trees and circled around it slowly, noticing the textures of the aged bark and lichen along with the lightfall. I sat the box down, cradled on a tree root, and snapped a few images. I adjusted my angle and position and snapped a few more. Then, just as I was about to call it a wrap to head back in the house to see what I had, it was almost as if something spoke to me and said, “Love isn’t always sweet-scented flowers in full bloom . . . loves goes through many stages – just like this tree. Through years and years of growing and weathering the seasons and the storms, this tree has reached upwards of 30 or 40 feet, and the expanse of its roots are at least that deep. True love weathers many seasons as well, and often survives a myriad of storms – if nurtured properly, the roots of that relationship will take hold and create a nourishing foundation for that relationship, much like the tree, that goes deeper than we can see with the human eye”. I stood there for a few moments, letting that thought sink into my soul, thinking over the other things I had noticed in the yard.
“While the beginning of a journey together certainly deserves celebration, as the
journey continues, each additional step is an achievement worth celebrating –
just as much, if not more.”
~Jesh de Rox -“The Dream”/BELOVED Field Guide~
The strength, endurance and depth of love ...
Then I remembered the rose bush, just starting to send out its first tender leaves…
“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns;
I am thankful that thorns have roses.”
Again I did my little “photography tango” … walking to one side of the bush and then the other … bending down to my knees and stretching up onto my tip-toes. I’d lay the box gently upon one branch and then try another, careful not to damage the bush or any of its tender, new growth. As I snapped a few images at my “new” location, I pondered how much relationships can be like rose bushes – love, at its best, can rival the beauty of any rose in its full-bloom glory; but there are occasional “thorns” that have to be dealt with, too. The thorns may come in a variety of obstacles, but the successful relationships thrive on the gratitude of being thankful that the thorn bush has roses, rather than dwelling on the presence of the thorns.
Rejoicing because the thorn bushes have roses
The Bradford Pear trees were my next stop. Just barely beginning to bud, they held the promise of the coming spring. The pear blossom has long been a symbol of hope and of lasting friendship since the Victorian era. At weddings, it symbolizes generosity and hope for the new life of a marrying couple. In English poetry, the pear blossom is a delicate or fragile strength. “Hope” … “friendship” … “generosity” … “delicate” … “fragile” … “strength” … a loving, growing relationship is the embodiment of each of these things. The budding pear blossoms would be yet another “perfect” setting for my new “treasure box”.
The promise of love ...
Just before shutting the camera off, I walked back to the oak tree where my small journey of “discovery” began. I had already been given so much in just a matter of a few minutes, but yet I selfishly wanted just one more image … a parting moment to relish in my thoughts … one more chance for that voice to speak to me … and I got it. I placed the little wooden box at the base of the tree again, in a slightly different location of one of its branching roots. I adjusted … I moved the box … I stood up … I bent down … and had almost just the right set up. Almost. This one little dried leaf stood in the way. So I moved it. Then I noticed the edge of a small piece of bark … I had just reached out to move it, too, and I stopped in mid-movement. I pulled my hand back and put it on my camera. For a moment, the thought came to me that relationships aren’t perfect. People in relationships aren’t perfect. However, two people in a loving relationship, supporting each other through the buds and the thorns and the storms, rejoicing in it’s moments of full-bloom glory, and standing strong against the winds of time … that’s true beauty … even with its imperfections. Why did I feel compelled to make this last scene pristine and “perfect”? Most of our lives are far from pristine, and it’s the couple who can look past those imperfections and find beauty in the unrehearsed, unpretentious “naturalness” of their lives and their love that will also stand the test of time and find beauty in less-than-perfect surroundings.
Love ... unrehearsed, unpretentious
In these moments of life,
may our eyes be blessed to see
with depth what matters most.
May our hearts to discover love
be stronger than our fears.
May we be compassionate with ourselves
and those around us, remembering we are
all in stages of growth.
~Jesh de Rox~
BELOVED Field Guide