Bob Anderson (31 May 2015)
"re: Mary Adams -- My Clematis"

Dear Mary,

What a lovely post. Thank you. The full poem follows:

God's Garden

God made a beatous garden
With lovely flowers strown,
But one straight, narrow pathway
That was not overgrown.
And to this beauteous garden
He brought mankind to live,
And said: "To you, my children,
These lovely flowers I give.
Prune ye my vines and fig trees,
With care my flowerets tend,
But keep the pathway open
Your home is at the end."

Then came another master,
Who did not love mankind,
And planted on the pathway
Gold flowers for them to find.
And mankind saw the bright flowers,
That, glitt'ring in the sun,
Quite hid the thorns of av'rice
That poison blood and bone;
And far off many wandered,
And when life's night came on,
They still were seeking gold flowers,
Lost, helpless and alone.

O, cease to heed the glamour
That blinds your foolish eyes,
Look upward to the glitter
Of stars in God's clear skies.
Their ways are pure and harmless
And will not lead astray,
Bid aid your erring footsteps
To keep the narrow way.
And when the sun shines brightly
Tend flowers that God has given
And keep the pathway open
That leads you on to heaven.



Mary Adams (24 May 2015)
"My Clematis"

My Clematis
One thing that keeps an old lady young in heart are the flowers she tends in her garden. 
After a long winter of snow, ice, and wind, the sun decides to move north from its southern vacation spots to pay a visit to the Arctic regions.  Growing seasons here are unique—they last but a few months, but the days are long, sometimes stretching like a big yawn, to where some places will only see a brief twilight to represent nightime. 
Here in Alaska, where I live, there is always a rush to visit the nurseries and select this year’s plantings.  Mental dreams of beautiful flowers and smells of lilacs and allysum draw my arthritic limbs out of my easy chair, like the bears leave their dens to get a taste of returning salmon, and fowls of every sort come to mate.
When I think about it, I am so amazed how God instills in His creation instinctive triggers, which make nature so fascinating.  How boring life would be without them.  And at the same time, how easily one can become a bored person themselves, if they do not let those “instinctive triggers” draw them to observe His involvement in everything about us.
My shopping for this year’s annuals and perinneals led me to one particular plant: a Clematis.  I had never planted one before, but there they were—eye stopping and gorgeous!  I grabed a couple, put them in my shopping cart and continued to the checkout stand.  They instantly drew the attention of people in the aisles.  “Where did you find them? They are so beautiful!”  I indicated the nursery section, but knew they would be too late, all would be gone, for there were only a couple left.
I took them home and put them out on my porch to wait until my friend Ellen, an expert with plants, could help me place them along my fence in full sun.  So they stayed there for several days.  Now that those two are planted, I found two more in another store and will be finding them a showplace as well.
As I sit here writing this, I feel I must share with you what the Holy Spirit has taught me just now.  It’s about this particular plant, Clematis.  No, not what you might think—(research into planting tips), but rather its spiritual lessons. 
As a vine, it has tendrils that reach outward to find something to attach itself to; reaching and stretching in all directions.  If it doesn’t do this, that particular limb will die.  Neither will flowers develop.
 Interestingly, as Ellen was putting one of those plants into the ground, she had a difficulty. Because of its confinement in the nursery, it had found nothing to grow on, except itself.  So a mass of tendrils had wound themselves into a ball at the base of the plant---ensuring its certain demise unless she could carefully unwind each of them and start them upward toward the sunlight, attached to some twine.
You may have guessed what I am about to say.
I saw me.  Like every one if us, I was created to be a thing of beauty, to spread joy and life wherever He planted me. And like the Clematis, also with arms to reach outward to others, seeking a place to reach and attach them to Christ, to partake in its created purpose...for a season.  So when winter returns, I, too, will not die, for I have His resurrection power---I am a perinneal!  But unless during growing season,  I never reach outward to others, I remain focused inward and become entangled upon myself. 
That same lesson applies to each of us.  We represent the body of Christ, His church.  If we do not walk in the Light, we will never live as a perennial, but just survive for a an annual.
For Clematis to produce its lovely flowers, and create the thing of beauty where planted, it cannot focus upon itself, nor cling only upon itself.  It has to reach toward the Light and find others placed in its pathway, inviting them to also become a part of the plant. Hopefully, together,  we will have created “a thing of beauty”---a joy forever!
“God made a beauteous garden
With lovely flowers strown,
But one straight, narrow pathway
That was not overgrown.
And to this beauteous garden
He brought mankind to live,
And said "To you, my children,
These lovely flowers I give.
Prune ye my vines and fig trees,
With care my flowers tend, But keep the pathway open.  Your home is at the end."  
(“God’s Garden” by Robert Frost)