She doesn’t want to do her creative writing assignment.

“It’s too hard!” she says. “I don’t want to go for a walk and write down what I see and hear and feel.”

“Come walking with me?” I offer. “We can do it together.”

We find ourselves crunching along a trail on a sunny Thursday morning. The path crosses a meandering brook, and we stop to listen to the gurgling water and the competing calls of a northern flicker and red-headed woodpecker. The dappled sunlight is warm, but the breeze is sharp and I can see my breath faintly in air. Beside the trail, coltsfoot pushes yellow through the carpet of decaying leaves. There is also mottled trout lily, mayapples, skunk cabbage, bloodroot, dainty violets, and tiny bell-shaped spring beauty.

My daughter pulls out her notebook, searching for a way to put words to the beauty around us. She struggles with what comes easy to me, but nevertheless, her words come out more beautiful than mine.

Three days later, the rain is falling and with it my tears. I’m battling to hold on to the words — the peace — of the woods.

“Everything seems difficult right now!” I tell the Lord. “I can’t do it!”

“Walk with Me,” He beckons. “We can do this together.”

My weakness, His strength. The strength of the Word that brought beauty into being in the first place. He made it all.

The three brown-headed cowbirds chasing each other through the underbrush.

The brilliant-white trillium unfurling dainty petals.

The bees that busily buzz from flower to flower.

But He also created the grey fog that envelopes the earth and the damp drizzle that nourishes it. He created the cold days when the trees battle to push out leaves and the dark spaces where tender shoots fight to emerge from the soil. The hard days serve a purpose too.

“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

John 1:3

His words, more beautiful than mine, weave through days filled with sun and days filled with rain.

We must seek His words, the Word. To draw near. This is our purpose in the pain. The unfurling of life in dark spaces.

“Walk with Me?” He beckons.

And suddenly life doesn’t feel so heavy anymore.


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