The sweetest spot on our property is the front porch. We actually oriented the entire house to ensure this gorgeous view of the Blue Ridge mountains was front and center of the rocking chairs. Everyone who visits our home delights over this beautiful scene. I’ve no idea how many hours I’ve perched here connecting with friends, communing with God and soaking in the beauty. Like the tattered quilt my child insisted on having with her at ALL times and stroked whenever a dose of comfort was necessary, this view has magical qualities. I come and gaze whenever I need a pinch of peace or an attitude adjustment.
PC Abigail Leigh
The striking thing about our view is the fact it’s only twenty feet wide, tucked in a row of tall cypress trees purposely planted as a gigantic privacy fence. As soon as people inhale the beauty, it registers that were it not for that gap, we would have no view at all. We weren’t supposed to have this sneak peek of heaven.
Last night while having dinner with the couple who owns the gap we so greatly enjoy, I asked why it was there. They explained it was due to the death of a tree many years ago, and it hadn’t been replaced when they bought the property. They planted a Christmas tree there ten years ago, but it didn’t grow. I exclaimed, “It’s a good thing that tree died or I’d have no view at all- and it’s such an incredible view!”
Sitting here this morning sipping coffee, I ponder the incredible beauty before me and the fact it was made available to me through death. As a nurse, mother, gardener- as a human being, I naturally oppose death. But we all know it’s inevitable. As I’ve matured, I’ve been able to come to terms and partially embrace the fact that death is part of living. Each year my garden dies and I shovel it into the soil as nourishment for next year’s crop. I encourage my children as they experience all changes and losses (deaths) that are necessary for growing up. I’ve had the privilege of coaching families as they cared for dying loved ones (and experienced some of the most beautiful moments of my life).
And I’ve died my own deaths. Hundreds of them. It’s the struggling, choking death of self that is most bewildering. It typically comes in forms least expected and processes I would never choose, or even consider. I am usually kicking and screaming, so loudly protesting the pain that I can’t hear what God is saying. At some point in this temper tantrum, as I rock back and forth in my misery, I look up. It’s the most incredible view. A twenty-foot sneak peek of heaven, tucked in a row of difficult lessons purposefully used to grow me into the woman God ordained me to be.