Friday, December 27, 2019

8)Jeff Hinton "Roses in Deserts, Flowers in Concrete"

After José Olivarez and Isaiah 35

The call goes out that the desert will bloom
And it sounds hopeful
That this inhospitable wasteland will turn into something beautiful
Something lovely
These sands with the heat that chokes out all life
Will become soil that nourishes a new paradise
That’s what we’re told, that’s what we’ll see, eventually
But what if the desert blooms and it’s still a desert?
What if this miraculous event occurs and then these lush carpets of flowers 
shrivel and die
Just like everything that came before?
What if it needs more than hope and desire for love to bloom in a wasteland?

Maybe it’s like the rose that blooms from the crack in the sidewalk
It’s once again the metaphor for hope, for persevering in the face of adversity, 
for overcoming the odds
And yet beneath the foot of the ruler walking by, it’s the same as the concrete around it
The flower and the stone feel the same beneath a boot
It’s easily ignored
Or worse, after all the work it takes to grow in such a harsh environment
Someone decides that the rose doesn’t belong
And plucks it up before it can be anything at all

Maybe we need to realize that it’s not enough to plant orchids in the sand and call it a miracle
Maybe we need to stop celebrating small signs and wonders as if they’re the end of the story
When really they’re a call to renewal, to a new order of all things
Maybe what we need to do is transform the sidewalk into a garden
To terraform the desert, rearranging it entirely so that it might hold paradise instead
That it might provide a home for those who have none
instead of drying out the hope of anyone stranded there
Maybe that’s what this season of preparation is for
Not that we might be ready to see something unlikely
But that we transform ourselves so that we might make the unlikely the ordinary
So that the desert blooms for more than a fleeting moment
So that the rose doesn’t just fight its way out of a crack in the sidewalk
So that we don’t just wait for God to show up
But we make the path that God takes through that wasteland that was once so 
imposing to get here
Lined on either side with roses in full bloom


Jeff Hinton is a pastor, writer and musician in Oklahoma. You can find his work at Irrational Confidence and his most recent EP here.

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