The day had been long. The week had been long. No matter. Friday had come and I was headed home.
Home to rest. Home to relax. Home to refresh so as to have the strength to do it again the next week.
My mind wandered into nothingness...
I came to the top of the hill and instantly my mind jolted to reality. The audible cry that escaped my lips almost startled myself in the silence of the car.
It was gone. Completely under water. The town I had just driven through hours before was now buried. Only roofs were seen. On them I noticed people. A helicopter was hovering in the air. The town was buried in the flooding and the road I was to take to reach my home... gone.
There are a few things I distinctly and vividly remember about the flooding that occurred the summer that I was home from college.
Cresting the top of the hill only to look down and see nothing of the town that had been there just that morning is one of them. It took me an additional two hours to arrive home that night due to having to find roads passable.
I also distinctly remember what I call... the flood flowers.
As we were driving to church one morning, I was looking out of the window. This had become a very common practice as we compared the water level to where it had been as it slowly receded.
On our drive I was straining to find the ditches I knew were there. I wondered if it was just a very small taste of what Noah must have felt. Straining, almost as if it required great effort, just to catch one small glimpse of earth beneath the water.
It was then that I saw them. They were some of the smallest and most beautiful flowers I had seen. Springing up, where plain ol' earthy ditches should have been, through the murky water left from the flooding... tiny flowers reaching towards heaven.
I pointed them out to the rest of my family. We were all amazed and wondered at their appearance. In what seemed so devastating, so ugly, so destructive... was rising something so innocent, so simple, so precious.
Their thin stems standing tall seemed to announce determination. Their perfectly formed petals seemed to shout hope. Their bright colors seemed to proclaim life.
We later learned that they were a flower that grows after and in the midst of large flooding. I wish I could recall what they were called. I can't. But I do remember the lesson they taught me.
I have experienced moments of life that can feel destructive, discouraging, devastating, and overwhelming. That all beauty has become ugly and repulsive, perhaps even nauseating. I have felt as though all hope is lost. There is nothing to salvage, nothing to rebuild, nothing but ruins.
However, if I look. If I wait. If I am willing to see them... they appear. They are there. As I strain to catch just one glimpse, in time, I am not disappointed. My heart flood flowers appear.
God does a planting in the middle of the chaos. Strength is bolstered. Beauty is remembered. Hope is renewed. There is promise of sunshine after the rain. Life springs forth from apparent death. And He provides the reminder in the midst... just for me.
I find that now I am not so amazed and astonished when I see them in my heart, just more assured and comforted. A knowing smile crosses my face and a peace settles deep in my spirit as I look out the window of my soul, gazing upon my heart flood flowers.
For you see, I've learned... that's just the way my God is.
(Note: the flowers pictured here are not the actual flood flowers we saw.)