I had been through the Project Rachel experience, 11 weeks of beautiful healing that I so desperately needed. After 25 years in denial, I was shown by Jesus that I did indeed have a broken heart, and that He was the only one capable of mending it. Project Rachel (PR) was the means to that end - a beautiful group of prayerful, funny, oh so human women, themselves sisters, mothers, wives, some of whom themselves had already been through PR and were back so kindly giving of their time as facilitators, others called to serve in this amazing ministry, others still on the same journey of healing as me.
As part of PR, there is a healing rock garden in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, dedicated to unborn children, looked over by our dear spiritual mother Mary. A place where at some time during the PR process there is an invitation to visit, to spend time, to maybe paint a rock with your baby's name on it and leave it there in the garden. I never felt in the least called to visit the garden. I was certainly on the right track in terms of beginning to heal what had so desperately been broken, but I just didn't feel any draw or need to go to the garden. Others went, that was fine, good for them. Not for me.
Until. A beautiful, quiet soul from our PR group sent me a few pictures she had taken at the garden. To this day I don't believe she realizes the impact that single act had on my life. For the good, for the abundantly good. God uses us all, to nurture each other, to tend to each other, to help, to support, often in such unexpected ways.
The pictures showed a place teaming with life. It was rich, full, a much more mature garden than I had expected. The minute I saw the pictures I knew I had to go. It was that simple.
I knew I would be in Halifax on a certain date. There was a praise and worship event I had been invited to and planned to attend. That would be a great time to leave a little early and go to visit the garden before the evening event. I was quietly so excited about the visit, unsure why but just knew it was meant to be. I was full of anticipation, as if I was going to meet someone I so wanted to see. I asked a few friends from the PR group if they would like to meet me there too. It seems once you have been, it is a place you like to return to, and I did in fact want some company. A few friends agreed to meet me there.
Wonderful, I was set. The day arrived. Late in the afternoon one friend had to drop out due to sickness, that's OK, still had a few others coming. As I drove into the parking lot, the sun was shining, it was an absolutely beautiful summer afternoon. Then another message, someone else unable to come.....I sat in the car for a while, waiting to see if the last person might come...but I think I knew really it was just me.
Disappointed, I reached for my rosary and my music. I slowly walked along the path to the entrance to the garden.......and how beautiful it was. Just as the pictures had shown me, mature gardens, so beautiful and still, very still. Wild roses, pink, lots of green. A very colorful rock garden. That brought me sadness. I walked around and read every name on every rock.
I sat down on the bench and began to say the rosary. I didn't have to think about doing that, I was led. I felt much sadness, but also so, so warm, the warmth of the sun on my back. I lay down on the bench and reached for my music. I had a song all lined up, a song I had been thinking about in the car and thought it would be right. I had it all lined up to play, but surprisingly, as I listened, that wasn't the song actually playing. I love music. God has spoken to me through music and I have come to believe that He gives me the right song at the right time. He knows better than I do.....
The songs that played..Even When it Hurts, Prince of Peace, Empires, all by Hillsong.
They were perfect, they spoke to my heart. I cried. I laughed, all the while still feeling the warmth of the sun. And the unmistakable WARMTH of the Son.
So many insects in the garden, so alive, birds, bees, a dragonfly,
even a blue arsed fly that actually looked beautiful close up, made me laugh. I am used to rushing around, much like the fly.
BE STILL.....and I was. That's how I need to be. God seemed to be saying that He cannot tend to us if we are always moving.
I could smell the roses, the flowers. Surrounded by truly beautiful creation.
Thank you, you are my Lord and King. As I reflected, I asked the question, but why? Why did I have to come? I was so happy, but why? The answer was, for love of the children, of women I have walked with, love of life, honoring beauty, to receive God's love, to acknowledge God's mercy and grace.
Why? Here? For love.
Ask, and you shall receive.
My prayers had been heard. I felt more love in that moment than I had ever, ever felt before, and I said a resounding Thank you! Amen!
(Catherine's Mom who found Project Rachel in 2014 ontinues to proclaim the Lord's healing!)