Monday, June 23, 2014

Sweet Pea

(Photo from the train of the sun setting at 10pm in early June!)

So June 21st was this Saturday, which means we are officially well into the summer season. Although, I am currently in the cafe comfortably sipping a hot drink in a sweater and seems someone forgot to tell Newcastle that it is June! Yes the sun is only absent from the sky 11:30pm to 3:30am these days, but shorts and flipflop weather is not an everyday reality for summer in the Northeast of England. But I am not one to complain- as a Colorado girl at heart, the cold never bothered me anyway (yes that was a shameless Frozen plug).
However, one obvious sign of summer has been all the green growth lining the streets and flowers bringing color to the neighborhood. One flower in particular I am excited to see bloom is the Sweet Pea. 

Beginning in early September, Sweet Peas have taken on a significant role in my year. 
At our very first Time For God (TFG) conference, we were each handed a different bag of seeds to write our name on, and as you may have guessed, mine were Sweet Peas. 
We then anonymously redistributed the packs of seeds to another volunteer to take home and plant-- keeping that individual in your prayers for the year.

Fast forward to a meeting with some of the JMC leadership, during a time when I was struggling a bit with stress and homesickness. And without the knowledge of my TFG flower support system, one of our stewards gave me advice and encouragement using the metaphor of a Sweet Pea reaching up to the sun for energy.

Fast forward again to a Cliff College conference-- one of the TFG field officers had been doodling a picture in the lecture, and approached me at the break saying she felt like she needed to give it to me for some reason. It was a sketch of two flowers rising up to catch the sun rays with a quote from Psalm 3.

All I could hear was Bill Engvall (Blue Collar Comedy Tour) in my head saying, "Heeeerrrrreeeee's your sign!"
So I told our minister Rob and he planted some Sweet Peas in his garden.

As you can imagine, those seeds, that were planted this winter and have since slipped my mind, have now bloomed into a beautiful batch of Sweet Peas. These gorgeous flowers that have held such significance in my year, went unseen all winter, until suddenly there they were. Fully bloomed and smelling wonderful-- reminding me of a support that I had forgoten I had this year. 

It is a humbling lesson I experienced at Gonzaga University and truly believe we all need reminding every now and then. It is a realization that love and support are always more present than we will ever know or see. An, "invisible love," if you'd like. Even though the Sweet Peas were not in bloom all winter, even though I didn't see them until this summer, they were still there in the ground, growing and developing a root system.
Some of the Sweet Peas from Rob's garden

Just as I am that "invisible love" and prayer support for the TFG volunteer whose flowers I have, we each have those sources of unseen support we will never know exist. But when you take a moment to think about it, it can be so encouraging and refreshing. 
I realize this is a very vague reflection, but maybe part of the power of "invisible love" is that we aren't meant to fully grasp or understand it. 
So today I simply ask you to pass it on. Pray for the TFG volunteers, pray for the YAGM program, and pray for my community.

And as always thank you for your continued love and support!
Cheers for now

*Today I would like to give a special thanks to Eagle River Presbyterian Church in Eaglevail, CO for being an amazing source of "invisible love" and tangible support!