27 April 2013 Anno Domini
Posted by Sofia Guerra
I have been living in Wisconsin since May of 2011. I love it. I love the cold and the snow. Most people on the East and West Coast would complain and certainly those not used to the cold and snow. We went way over our average for snow this year but did not break the record. The farmers are happy since it will help ease the drought problem and that’s a good thing. It was however, a long winter this year extending into April up until yesterday.
Yes, yesterday. We actually had snow a couple of times that was enough to cover everything twice this month, freezing rain and way below average temperatures for April. Yesterday though, Spring said to Winter, “It’s my turn buddy, move over”.It was a gorgeous day, in the mid to upper 60’s (yes warm for here) with a beautiful sun, puffy clouds and just a bit of wind…well more than a bit of wind but we Wisconsinites call it a breeze. Finally, time for outside fun and fresh air!
I have been struggling lately with a spiritual dryness and sadness that I was allowing to really get to me. Normally if I have a bout with spiritual dryness Jesus fixes it (with my help-ha ha) right away. This time no way. It was accompanied by a deep sadness which was leading me to just put my head down on my desk and cry. I spoke with my spiritual director/confessor and he welcomed me into the real life of someone striving for holiness. He gave me great advice but for some reason when I tried, it made it worse. Then, as always in my life, Divine Providence prevails.
I reached out to my friend Lisa Graas and filled her Twitter DM box with tons of messages. I knew she could help me. I felt it in my gut. She did. She read my messages and gave me some honest, simple words of encouragement. She pledged her prayers (which would have been enough, believe me) but then she simply told me to take some time off and assured me she understood what I was going through was hard but she kept thinking about Pope John Paul II saying…”Be not afraid…” A final message was to get outside as she does with her children on a regular basis. Boy is she smart. Lisa has a wisdom which only is given to those who embrace the Cross. Bless her Passionist little heart! I love you Lisa Graas! Mille grazie mia sorella!
So as I got up early yesterday to the sound of a chorus of chubby, noisy little birds… and sun! Sarah and myself packed a picnic, found a park near the lake and called Olbrich Beach, (yes a beach!) and down the street was Olbrich Botanical Gardens. A double find! The
botanical gardens has been selected as one of the top ten most inspiring gardens in country by Horticulture magazine. Who knew? the trip was short-4.1 miles and since it was a Friday and early, no traffic. Pretty much almost around the corner from where we live.
When we got there our mouths dropped open! Lake Monona with a little beach and a grassy park area with tennis, basketball, beach volleyball and much more open to the public. On our way to the beach park we passed the Botanical Gardens only a few blocks away so we decided to check that out after the day at the beach.
What I can tell you that it was just what I needed. God knew that so He gave me what I needed because I was willing to meet Him halfway. I stopped crying and wondering why and simply prayed and went outside to enjoy His Creation. He gives us everything we need as long as we are willing to believe it and to act upon His Will. How much do I love Him? Infinitely.
What extra gift does He ALWAYS give me when I listen to Him? I always, without exception meet a person along the way which He wants me to meet. Yesterday was no exception. He sent Teri, a woman with the sparkling eyes of a child, the smile of an angel, a mind sharp as a tack and a soul she gives to God in gratitude. And if that wasn’t enough she came along with “Texan” a loveable labrador/poodle mix
with the personality we all want in a dog. almost always the person I am supposed to meet comes along with a dog. I haven’t figured out why yet but perhaps those who understand why God gives us stewardship over animals really understand the intricacies of God’s love for His Creation – all of it!
Sarah and I will be at Olbrich Beach now weekly and we will walk the outside gardens at Olbrich Botanical Gardens because it’s all part of His outside perfection. We will also be there because of Teri. Our time with her was so special, it had to be something “touched by an angel” or a wink from God Himself. Our time with Teri touched Sarah and myself in a way that can only give oneself hope. The kind of hope which Jesus gives us in His complete act of love on the Cross.
My self-inflicted misery of spiritual dryness was a self-centered act, I realize that now. All it took was leaving the house and not staying on the hamster wheel, frustrated that it never stops. Resting in God’s Creation and taking the time to “Be not afraid” and to offer a prayer of Thanksgiving for His love.
By the way, I am still on vacation. Sarah will be continuing to post articles and will be on Twitter and FB as I need a little more time off. Lisa Graas is always right when I don’t know the answer. She makes a heck of a spiritual director my spiritual director says because she knows it’s all about the Cross and all about Jesus…
God love you,
PS See you Teri next week and let Texan know we put the Charlee Bear treats in the car already!
Here’s a photo gallery of our day out: (Sorry about the duplication of photos, trying to learn WordPress all the time!
For those who would like to see and read more about Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin please click HERE…