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Grace and Disgrace

The garden was a mess. Shattered land after the catastrophe. The hail had destroyed everything. The garden, the flowers and even the aromatic herbs that were arranged next to the shed. The two vines my father knew how to plant, which were about to bloom, had lost all their green. And it wasn’t the first time. My mood reflected what I saw. It was undone. So much love put into the work seemed to make no sense. I had already been told on occasions that it did not matter what was outside but the inner way in which things are done, however I could not avoid being upset.

Weren’t You the one who called me to the solitude of the field? Weren’t You who inspired me to live frugally from the fruit of my garden? Who planted in me the seed and the taste for the hermitic life? I cried out inside myself: Who understands you, my God? The mess of my soul was also reflected in my small house. And not even the so thick and perfect Bible that I had bought with hard economic effort inspired me to read. Other times just seeing it and flipping through its soft and perfumed pages ignited devotion. Now nothing. Everything was gray and my body felt weak. I lay on my back on the bed without looking at anything but the empty ceiling, without praying, almost without thinking. 

In the sleepless night that followed, dreaming without dreams came images of my teacher and his words and examples. With emphasis he insisted on the metaphor of the peach stone. How warm it had felt inside the fruit and how that shelter had seemed eternal and placid. In how he had despaired when he saw the excessive ripening of the fruit and then when it detached itself from the tree and fell to the ground, the pain of the putrefaction of what had been his refuge. Little by little the heart was left alone, in an unknown location, before a sky that he did not understand and the very tree in which he had been born seemed strange to him.

 Gesticulating vehemently, he said to me: “Do you realize the despair that a peach stone would feel when it felt an inexplicable internal force that destroys it by opening it in the middle, which disarms it and then when small limbs sprout that tie it to the ground?” . “How could it understand that what happens is it own vocation, that for which he has been called to life: to root and be the seed of a new tree.”

“It’s the same with us, we misinterpret misfortune. We often confuse grace with disgrace. We have been created and continue to be shaped by a very wise and loving sculptor. With marvelous art, the events of life happen for our good, so that we orient ourselves towards that for which we were conceived. How to remove the excess stone so that the beautiful sculpture appears? How to write an icon without first devastating the wood or painting in oil without first treating the canvas? ” Trust, trust! He always told me.

A few hours later, already grateful in my heart, I redrew the boundaries of the new garden. It would leave the soil very fine and worked and would organize the different species more coherently than before. I would put the best of myself in an impeccable attempt. I will let myself be worked by You Lord, Remove all the weeds from my proud heart! I will continue here waiting for your storms and I will seek not to surrender to fear or discouragement. I will remember that I am earth worked between Your beautiful hands.