I followed the winding brick path around my garden; taking in the fragrance of the lilac bushes that lined each side of the path. I was held captive to the rainbow of color and mixture of perfumes that blocked the path from the ridge that overlooked the expanse of my land. There was a butterfly shaped bench sitting among pansies, petunias of all colors, daisies, and black-eyed Susan’s inviting me to rest a while. I stepped from the brick to flagstone that had become one with the ground.
At last, I was in my heaven. I spent many years planting and pruning in effort to fashion a place where I could be sequestered.
I sank into the bench, inhaled deeply, and closed my eyes, intoxicated by it all. I had created the life of my dreams, acquiring more money than I could spend alone. My home outshined all others with its immaculate architecture and great size. The bedroom closet was full enough to cover all of Detroit in the finest clothes. I could not decide on one car, so I filled the garage with all different styles. The stables I owned boasted of the finest horses in the world. I created heaven, perched high on a hill, overlooking one hundred acres of forests and meadows that bore my name.
I struggled to put my mind at rest. How is it that though I’ve created heaven, I am unhappy? Thoughts swirled around my brain. I began to weep.
I was drawn to the sound of water skipping over rocks. What is that? I wondered. I do not recall a brook near here. I tried to return to my mental cleansing ritual. However, the sound of water would not allow it. I suppose I should go find the water’s source and phone the plumber; my sprinkler system must have a leak. I grudgingly got up from the bench to find the leak.
A puddle formed near a group of fir trees at the edge of my garden. I followed the tiny stream intent on locating its origin.
The sun began its descent behind the trees. It’s getting late, I thought. When will this end? It became obvious long ago that the water’s source was not from my home. The little stream was now a river deep in the woods that surrounded my home.
I found a large rock and sat down to rest. Closing my eyes, I listened to trees dancing and swaying as a sweet song whistled through their leaves. It was then that I heard what sounded like someone crying. Like radar, my ears determined the direction I should follow.
The sounds led me to a small clearing. A waterfall cascaded over a cliff I had never seen before. At the base of the waterfall was a man, sitting near a fallen tree. With his back toward me I could not see his face, but I knew by the way his shoulders violently shook that he was the source of crying I heard. Holding his head in his hands, he rocked on knees and toes. He appeared to be praying, but his words were muffled.
I approached him slowly. As I drew near, he became still. I presumed he was waiting for me to leave, but I remained. “E-excuse me sir… Are you all right?” I was strangely nervous.
He turned to face me. His eyes, like liquid pools of chocolate, settled on me, warm and tender. My heart melted. Who is this man? I wondered. He seemed oddly familiar to me, yet I could not place him.
“Hello, Ann,” his voice was soft, deep, and inviting.
“H-how, do you know me?” I must have met him before, he knows my name. “Have we met?”
“Long ago,” came his simple reply. I sat down and we talked.
Golden rays of sun filtered through the trees. “It’s morning!” I was surprised we had talked all night. Then a pained look flashed in his eyes. Why does he look so sad? I did not understand. Then I recognized him. My heart broke. “I do know you! Or I used to anyway. Why did you leave?”
“I never left, Ann. You did.” He was so gentle.
It was true. I was consumed with getting ahead. I played the game well and was winning. However, I was empty. I left my first love. My heart shattered. “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” I fell at His feet and wept.
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26 (NKJV)
Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:3-5 (NKJV)
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