First Lutheran Church
It was May 1987, 25 years ago, and I was serving as pastor in a rural parish in southwestern Minnesota. I was just three years out of seminary. A woman from the congregation came quickly across the parking lot toward me and even then I was able to recognize good news in her body language. She had a magazine in her hand, "Country Woman," which I believe had formerly been "Farm Wife" or "Country Wife" magazine. There on the back cover of this magazine was an article by Margaret Wall, my mother. That wasn't so surprising to me as she had published more than a dozen articles that I knew of, but the surprising thing to me was it was a May magazine and that my mother had died nine months earlier.
It was immediately obvious why the article was in the May issue of this magazine as it was titled, "Look to the Lilacs."
I liked to think the article was about me though my sisters would probably want that claim as well. The article was about a child that brought lilacs (probably dandelions as I recall) into the house but tracked mud in as well. The neighbor who was visiting had to encourage the author to look to the lilacs and not to the mud on the floor. You might wonder if I like that story just because it is about me (quite possibly, anyhow). You might wonder if I like that story because it is positive and about hope in the beauty of lilacs as opposed to the mud that we all can find in our sight. Those are true, but I like that story because it was a wonderful gift from a parishioner who was excited about it and had joy in her heart sharing it. Then a few years later she and I and the entire community were in grief in an early March blizzard as we buried her husband and I prayerfully looked to the lilacs (the resurrection) and not the mud of death (earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust) on that day.
Mother's Day 2012 will have memories that you make. Now my 3-and-a-half year old granddaughter was so excited to see the dandelions in a park. She said, "I can pick all the flowers I want." Blessings to you as you look to the lilacs (or the dandelions).