Early in the week I finally put the potted olive tree into the ground so it can set up permanent residence. I built up a planter for it out of chunks of recycled concrete, filled it with rich garden soil that had been compositing under the oleander for the past few years, and then manuevered the olive into place. Some narcissus, daffodils and tulips that needed new homes took up residence around the base of the olive.
There is something about planting an olive that is meaningful, spiritual, and deeply symbolic. The Garden of Gethsemane where Christ spent the night before his crucifixion had olive trees in it. The name "Gethsemane" literally means "olive oil press". Christ spent those agonising night-time hours being pressed emotionally, mentally, and physically until He bled from the pours of His skin. He was the only perfect and sinless person that had or will ever walk the earth. He was like a harvest of perfect olives used to produce the best and finest extra virgin olive oil--the oil that is prized because it is from the "first press". Christ's experience in Gethsemane was the "first press" in so many ways. That Atonement that Christ performed that night, produced the finest and most precious gift that mankind could ever receive--an Atonement for our sins, our pains, our sorrows, and our inquities.
As I tamped down the earth around our own olive tree, all of these thoughts ran through my mind. I felt moved to offer a prayer after the planting was over to ask that the olive tree would thrive, prosper, and fulfil the measure of its creation here in our garden. As I closed the prayer with tear-filled eyes, I felt a closeness to my Savior. It was a fitting way to begin the week preceding Easter.
As I have hauled each wheelbarrow full of gravel and placed it into the trenches that are now paths that run around and by the olive tree's planter, I realized how much that part of the garden is beginning to look like the way I have always envisioned Gethsemane looks even though I've never seen it in person. Over and over I have had the words of a song going through my head as I have worked--I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked. And today as I completed the last of the path that hides the main trench, I sat down to take a last look before the light in the spring sky faded too much for me to see. Again, the words ran through my head.
On this Friday of Easter weekend, I have also been privileged to receive some wonderful inspiration from the blogs of my blogging friends. As I have read of their devotion and faith, they have helped me to put my heart and mind in the place that it should be at this time of year. I found stirring inspiration from Helen at Brushstrokes, etc. both with her art and with her words. I was reminded of important questions to ponder and reflect upon from Holly at 2 Kids and Tired. And I found Easter hope and joy from Kate at Our Red House. I say "thank you" to each of them for what they have shared with me and others. Each of you have helped to give me the proper perspective for this lovely Easter celebration that is ahead of us.
Whether one is Christian or not, the season of spring is full of hope and renewal. Even my friends in the southern hemisphere are celebrating a time where nature is getting ready for renewal by shedding the old. Every year when spring comes, I find at least one miracle that draws my mind back to the promise of new life. This year it was a petunia that wintered over through numerous frosty nights in a little pot at the base of the birdbath. It never let go of life. It hung on and is now in bloom again. It's exuberance and tenacity have reminded me that despite the bitter times in life, if we are rooted in a good place we will weather life's winters. We will come through alright and be able to bloom again. Holly asked in her blog "Why do you believe?" and I have to say this is why I believe. Because there is no way that the miracles of my own life and the miracles of humankind's existence in general could happen unless there was a loving Creator that made it so by His powerful hand. Just as the petunia is blooming again and as Christ rose again from the tomb on the third day after being crucified, I can bloom again after each challenge in life and ultimately have the promise of "blooming" one last time to enjoy a resurrected body myself and live for eternity with those I love.