(Blog post written by my wonderful, beautiful, Godly friend… Ember Morales Arteaga).
Hope deferred makes a heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
This past spring my father-in-law became terminally ill– Stage 5 renal failure. On hospice care weekends, my husband, in an attempt to reconcile his feelings of grief, would return home to our town home (with it’s teeny, tiny outdoor space) with plants, pots and soil from his dad’s back yard.
His father was dying. Our hearts were sick.
Like renal failure, the illness didn’t happen over night. It was a long time coming.
Isn’t that how it happens to us when we fail to filter, like a dysfunctional kidney, thoughts from the world?
Our lifestyles. Our business and busy-ness. Our inability to connect to others. Our search for pleasure. Our need. Our greed. Our twisted understanding of love and of one another. Our pain and the perception of it. The thoughts of the world creep into our daily existence– into our soul.
So, in desperation we hope to cure, by any means necessary,the sickness in our hearts; we give up the hope that salvation will come from outside of our SELF. We eat too much (or too little). We get high to forget. We numb ourselves. We purchase beyond our means. We pressure our children We fail others.
We seek to fill our own longings. And our hearts are sick.
The simple beauty of Hebrew poetry is juxtaposition. The author takes one idea and immediately provides a contrasting image. Such is the case with Proverbs 13:12. What contrasts a sick heart?
And so, in the midst of sickness and pain, I took those pots and plants and soil and a longing in my heart for healing, and I began to plant praying constantly this scripture, “Help me put my hopes in you because YOU will fulfill my longings. Make my family a tree that is filled with YOUR life YOUR love YOUR hope.”
With sunlight, water, pruning scissors, some music from heaven and this prayer my memory garden now thrives. Although there are still so many sick hearts around me in the world, in that small cramped urban patio exists love and healing and hope. It is my tree of life.
“Blessed is the one who…delights in the law of the LORD, and…meditates day and night. She is like a tree planted by streams of water…whose leaf does not wither. Whatever she does prospers.”