At last I am able to explain my long silence (that is, my astonishing lack of blogs in the past month or so). My first reason is that I decided to engross myself in the sequel to The Tree until its completion. Resolving to write at least a page a day, I was pumping out closer to six. I typed out the last sentence on the last day of April. Ah, how wondrous to work alongside the Holy Spirit through a second story, this next titled The Blood.
And then my computer promptly crashed. I believe it was the Lord’s mercy that it did not happen a day sooner (or I may have gone insane with frustration). I only just retrieved my computer from the repair store. Believe it or not, despite the hefty price tag, I am grateful my computer failed me, for I believe I needed to pause and catch my breath—to cease giving words that I may receive from the Word.
Ever since I was a child, I have stood at the window of simplicity. Yet the glass was ever fogged, a crystal reflecting delicate light and color but never revealing definite form. But then something happened during my retreat from my computer. I was sitting on the edge of the field, yearning to be closer to Him—when the window at last swung open. I am here, He called from the garden below, and I looked and I knew it was true. What once was present but distant and indistinct has become as sharp as a shadow at noon. That morning, I understood why I’ve been given certain strengths (which become my weaknesses when I stray from God) and thus why I’ve always been drawn to that window.
What exactly did I see beyond and below? The pure, hard life of simplicity. Pure, because it is a return to the earth, the pure earth, free from unnecessities, stirring the soul’s memory of Eden and hope of Heaven. And hard, because it is anything but comfortable. But I—indeed, each of us—was not created for comfort but for greatness. Greatness is born through the labor of suffering, because when a soul is suffering, it must draw closer to its source of strength or perish, and this source is Christ. My Lover in the garden.
That morning, I heard Him beckoning me to meet Him there. However, He was calling to me through a window—not a doorway. He is asking something radical of me: if I am to enter into the life I am called to live, I must descend by ladder—or even more radical, by the vines crawling up the wall. As yet, I do not fully understand how I am to accomplish this (for I am little, I am weak). I only know that into the garden I must go.
Is my desire for the pure, hard life a romantic one? Well, yes, actually. With its joys and its pains, reality is precisely a romance with God. In the tilling of soil, the milking of a cow, the smoking of fish, He and I will touch. If not always in the passion of consolation, then in the purification of desolation—or through the man Nicholas.
I have been keeping a secret from this blog. Yes, his name is Nicholas, and he is one of the few experiences of God’s beauty that I chose not to share through my writing—at least during the ten months of our courtship. You see, soon he will be my Nicholas, and my heart can no longer conceal or contain this greatest gift given me.
When Christ called to me from the garden, I knew a choice was before me. Either Nicholas and I must enter into the garden together, or we must part. I experienced joy in the calling—but also sadness for what answering that calling may require. How do you walk away from the person you love most in the world? And thus the Word spoke to Nicholas as well. Simultaneously, in the privacy of prayer, he knew as well as I that the time had come to choose. He did choose.
When he knelt before me, I said yes.
He is an islander by birth, having grown into manhood many miles from where I myself grew into womanhood—and yet it’s as if our souls have known each other much longer than the year I’ve been on the island. Our language is the Holy Spirit, Who has so often spoken to one or the other, confirming His message when Nicholas and I come together and realize that we received the same message. I know we will grow more fluent in this language as we journey through the years together, for that is how it has been with us since the beginning—growing, always growing so long as Love is our teacher.
Love. I am only a child in the schoolroom of Love, but at this man Nicholas’s side, as one, I believe I will become—and am already becoming—who I was created to be. A lover of the Lover in the Garden of Simplicity.
Beautiful! The resplendent joy you must have to know the two of you are actually walking on but one path and the path leads where God has planned since your births. Congratulations!
In God’s love and peace,
How absolutely beautiful! I have been enjoying your posts, but this has to be the best! Congratulations and God bless you both!
Denise . . . all the best is wished for you and your newly found love . . . as you embark on the road to discovery together.
If it be God’s will, you will discern this to its conclusion truly before the end . . . I sense that God has brought you this far and will not abandon His plan for you. You are correct in assuming that His way is difficult . . . yet sprinkled with LOVE . . . May you find peace and strength in your choices to come . . .
I’ve been wondering about your absence! It’s wonderful to hear from you! Congratulations on your engagement! Abundant Blessings!
Awwww, beautiful post as usual and congratulations!!!
Congratulations to you and Nicholas, Denise!! You’ve been blessed with God’s love . . . as He meant it to be.
Your faith and your expression of it is like a soothing ‘balm’ to me. Please continue with your blog. I find it fills me with such peace, even joy. It reinforces my own gift of faith. Thank you so very much.
Denise, your way with words is truly a joy to behold. What a great gift you be. “A lover of the lover in the garden of simplicity.” ♥️