Littered Landscapes and Love
Relationships are like a beautiful landscape. When they are newly discovered, there is much wonder at the beauty all around. Everything seems to be bursting with color, fragrance, light. The experience can often take our breath away.
Sadly, over time, litter begins to accumulate. Harsh words. A broken promise. Unforgiveness. Records of offenses kept. Soon we see that our once beautiful landscape is littered with trash, debris, and worn out rusting junk. The scene can once again take our breath away; not for its beauty but rather for the tragedy of what has been lost. That once beautiful place where we lingered over coffee and time itself seemed to stand still, that place of holy conversation, has been littered by the trash of life and this sacred space nearly destroyed.
Yet look closely. The beauty is still there beneath the litter and debris. It is often tempting to look around and be overwhelmed by the mess we see. Rather than contemplating rolling up our sleeves and getting to work on trash removal duty, we dream of escaping to a new landscape. The tragedy in this is that this is a denial of the beautiful landscape we once beheld with such joy. What does it say of us that we are unwilling to pay a price to restore even a small piece of it? The temptation is to walk away in search of greener pastures, an uncluttered landscape, and a fresh start. The problem with this is that over time, the same litter seems to have followed us to our new and improved location……wherever we go, there we still are.
The true test of love long born is not in the initial beauty we find in the landscape of our love, but rather in our dogged determination to clear away the litter of our thoughtless passing. It is in learning new and better ways to tend to that love. It is in learning about the ways in which we litter and destroy our beautiful landscape and somehow learning to avoid them.
Yes, it is easy to abandon what was once a sacred space in search for fairer ground. But that is not what our Lord did for us. He did not leave us in our littered landscape, He redeemed us. He did not abandon us in the mess we made, but rather took on human flesh, became one of us, and lived among us. He showed us how to live, modeled love and forgiveness, and taught us the importance of preserverence until the end. Amen