As I walked by, a spring gust shook loose a cluster of blossoms from a cherry tree. I stopped and lifted my head and hands to the pink profusion. I felt suddenly as light- and joy-filled as a girl receiving her first bouquet.
“Thanks, God,” I whispered.
I thought about the passionate though transitory nature of love’s first bloom, about the physical and emotional impetus that drives us to ecstasy and to madness, that empowers us to slay dragons, ford danger, and travel to earth’s ends.
I thought about how exquisitely infatuation consumes and about how deeper love grows, though less dramatically, through time, loyalty, and kindness.
But mostly I thought about infatuation, the beauty and scent of it that, like a sudden burst of blossoms, can render one suddenly breathless, yearning.
“But why,” I queried God, “is love’s first stage so fleeting?”
In the asking, I knew one answer. This potent force, driven partly by chemistry and partly by some other mysterious force, has a practical function: the continuation of the race. Then I saw another answer in the way the seen mirrors the unseen.
As nature attracts and transforms its own, God draws and renews His own through His Word and his works.
Truth would have been enough, but He lavishes beauty, too. He fashions flowers for bouquets, mists the air with fragrance, and jewels the night sky.
He prompts hope with birdsong in the dregs of winter*, encourages and inspires in the shimmer of a sun-splashed lake, and delights with a sudden shower of pink blossoms even as through the power of His Word, he saves, heals, and delivers—a draw of a much more potent kind. (And beneath all the fading glitz, isn’t this at the core of the heart’s cry?)
And God’s passion never dies.
Though lovers may come and go, no one can take our hand from His as he woos us into eternity to that day when, dressed in bridal white, the Body of Christ will be presented to the Bridegroom through Whom all was made—and made possible, and Whose gifts are not subject to moth and rust—or to the whims and fancies of a fickle race.
“Beloved,” He whispers, even now, “look up.”
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
The land’s sharp features seemed to be
The century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.
At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
(Oh, what that little bird knew…what we can know…)
Images from the public domain