About a month ago I grew unusually, irrationally irritable over something small.
I get cranky sometimes, but this time was different- my simple task seemed monumental, and I became overwhelmed with the urge to do absolutely nothing, completely alone.
I couldn’t fight it. For the sake of my sanity, I went inside and relaxed for hours while my family continued to work and play outdoors. It didn’t seem fair when we had so much to do, and I kept trying to talk myself into going back out. But my distress at the thought kept me glued to the couch. And what was this awful, horrible, stressful trigger? Trimming back a clematis vine on my mailbox.
We had been working slowly to improve our home to put it on the market, and the curb appeal needed help. My realtor gave us a checklist and nonchalantly mentioned the vine on the mailbox, as if it barely needed to be included because he considered it to be insignificant. I had no idea why- for me- it wasn’t.
It may have been as simple as not wanting to kill the plant- I love those flowers. They were a treasured Mother’s day gift that beautifully blooms with three unique colors every spring. It may have been linked to the losses of my mom and grandmother, who knew much more about gardening than me. I remember despairing that they weren’t there to show me what to do- and aching for lost loved ones always puts the kibosh on my productivity. But I realized tonight that I put down the shears that day for a purpose much more powerful.
Just now, my husband and I discussed my newfound interest in native pollinator/butterfly habitats. When he mentioned twisting vines, I recalled my cranky day and all that has transpired since as clarity burst through my brain: God stopped me from clipping my clematis vine that day! The reason my attitude seemed so illogical, strong and sudden was because I was under a divine influence!
It seems odd that God would use my irritability to achieve something good, but I suppose if He could harden the hearts of kings He could also nudge me to seek some alone time. And why would He do that? Because twisted through the clematis vines around my mailbox, unbeknownst to me, was a small milkweed vine where I would later would find my first Monarch butterfly eggs.
These caterpillars have brought us so much joy; have given us something to look forward to; have increased my passion and curiosity for the insect and photography worlds tenfold. I’m working on new projects, planning new books, making new connections, sharing my experience (and even caterpillars) with friends… this has been a really good thing for me and my family. Had I trimmed back the vines a month ago, I would not be nearly this happy or this focused.
I’m not sure what will come of this. If the smiles on my daughters’ faces when they watch our little friends fly away is the extent of it, that’s enough. But I do know that this was all part of His plan, one that goes further back and deeper into my subconscious than I can fathom- before my cranky attitude toward yard work that day… before my loneliness for my mother stole my ambition and gave me an excuse to give up… before I even lost her.
Winds are changing. Clouds are parting. They always have been. The bad, the good, the highs, the lows, the peace, the desperation, the confusion, the clarity- the Lord is using all of me to shape my destiny.