Sunday, March 10, 2013

Golden Poppy

A few years ago I was walking alone in the Montara valley, when I saw a golden poppy. Just one lusciously golden and orange beauty standing alone on a hillside, amidst the dirt and rocks. That poppy meant a lot to me.

I had been crying and praying and hurting more than I ever had before as I walked down that hill. My life was in crisis and I was spiraling into despair. I prayed angrily and desperately. I was asking for help, for a sign, for anything to keep my fingertip hold on hope for my life.

That's when I saw it. A sentinel of beauty and, for me, hope standing alone on the hillside. I felt like it was shouting out to get my attention. I walk these hills often and pass by the loveliness around me without a glance when I'm thinking hard. But this time I stopped and stared at the flower. My field of vision was 99% dirt, rocks, 1% beautiful California Golden Poppy. It felt like God was saying, "I'm here. You are not alone as you walk through this landscape of pain and confusion."

Needless to say, I cried. A lot. But the tears had a different quality now - a bit of relief and sadness had crept in amongst the feelings. It was not all overwhelming pain anymore. It is surprising how God works sometimes.

Yesterday I took the same walk and saw a single poppy again, on the same hillside. I stopped and remembered and cried a little. The feelings came and went in a breath or two. How grateful I am to remember, but also to realize that I feel so much better about my life now. My heart squeezes a bit everytime I see golden poppies now, but especially when I see one glorious bloom standing alone. 


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