I went out to my garden this morning to pick a few tomatoes to put in scrambled eggs. The sun was already hot, so I took a few minutes to water the lettuce. I want to keep it going as long as I can before the heat makes it go to seed. The hay-covered path felt warm and smooth under my bare feet, and the sunlight went right down inside me. The air was sweet with the smell of mint, hay mulch, tomato plants, and that summer-time smell of green things growing fast. The cool water leaking onto my hands felt good, just as the hot sun felt good on the rest of me and in my eyes. My pole beans were a lacy wall of leaf and blossom, the chamomile was tall and crowned with daisy flowers and the borage was spreading blue stars all over. It's always hard for me to leave my garden once I'm there.
Then I had an annoying little thought: what if the economy crashes right down to the ground? This garden wouldn't be enough to feed us. And here I am taking my pleasure. What about all the evil and corruption in high and secret places? What about all the suffering in the world? A warped piece of my conscience acted as if dismal thoughts would bring peace and prosperity, when the opposite is closer to the truth, and I knew that piece of my conscience was wrong.
So I took pleasure again in the water freshening my lettuce, and I thought about Jesus, who said "Don't worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Rejecting delight in a sunlit garden because bad things might happen is like going to a feast and not eating because tomorrow you might not have food. Take joy whenever and wherever there is joy. It will make your soul strong and healthy, and you'll be in better condition to face the troubles of today and tomorrow. You'll have more love to share with those who need it.
I also thought about a line from C.S. Lewis' novel, Till We Have Faces. At one point the main character, who has suffered a devastating loss, is returning to the scene of the loss. When her heart is uplifted by unexpected beauty on the way, she feels guilty, duty bound to maintain her grief. Then she hears in her mind the words, "Why should your heart not dance?"
Why not indeed? Why should evil and trouble get to extinguish your joy and pleasure in good things? Why should evil get that too?
My husband took these pictures for me with his phone. Aren't they nice?