A couple of years ago I found myself at the end of my chain of hope. I was a college freshman, suffering from severe health problems, and commuting a tiresome three hours daily back and forth to the heart of downtown Chicago.
I have to be honest: I hated the city. The bitterness of decaying metal, the crumbling buildings, reams of barbed wire, the clouds of pollution enveloping the skyline, and the harsh wind whipping at my face was draining in a way that was swiftly severe.
In a matter of months I went from vibrant to desolate, and the city perfectly reflected how I felt on the inside.
It was on one of my many dank and dreary rides along the Metra train line that I saw something that gave me hope: a single shoot of aster growing up between the tracks. Immediately my senses were arrested.
In that barren railyard there was beauty, a resilient beauty that defied all of its surroundings. Bright purple pulsing through the shades of gray. It struck me in that same instant that God had placed it there and I was meant to see it.
I love the idea of nature reclaiming the earth. It reminds me that all will be set right in the world.
Death shall become Beauty.
Barrenness will turn to Life.
I think that is what the season of Lent is all about. Looking, waiting for beauty to reclaim the darkness. Jesus reclaims us. He redeems us. He makes the earth beautiful once again.
Every now and then I see an aster just when I need it.
(Photo taken from Google images and edited by Katie Sherbondy using Adobe Lightroom CS3.)