A Walk in the Garden

I went for a walk today in search of a tiny grassy knoll and a little pond in the center of the University of Penn’s campus called the Bio Pond.

Admittedly, I was also in search of peace and a separateness from all things medical, from beepers and monitors, and nurses, and even from Evangeline’s pain.

The Penn campus is lovely.

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Nestled amidst the hustle and bustle of university life and collegiate buildings with brick lined walkways, is a tiny garden,

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with turtles and goldfish swimming in a pond.

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I walked through the little paths and walkways and sat for a few minutes on a bench amidst the greenery. My mind was suddenly filled with memories of my grandmother. Her name was Anna, and she had a sister who was only a year apart from her in age. They were like twins. My grandmother told me stories of her sister, Esther. She talked about how Esther’s dolls were always lovely and well kept, while my grandmother’s were warn and broken and had messy hair. She told me how Esther would sing the hymn, In the Garden, as she worked.

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I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

Refrain:
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

Refrain:
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.

Refrain:
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

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Then one day she had a terrible accident and fell out of a tree. They assume she must have broken her spine, and spinal meningitis set in, because she died not long after that.

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My grandmother never got over the loss of her sister, Esther. She told me that sometimes she could still hear Esther singing that hymn in her beautiful girlish voice. And today, I thought of Esther, too, as I sat in that lovely garden, and the words of that famous hymn she sang so innocently rang true for me. God has walked with me and talked with me and told me I am His own. He has placed a melody in my heart that plays on through the pain and longing I have known in my life, and while I long to linger held tightly in His arms, I Hear Him calling me to go to a world that needs His love.

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I often think of life as a journey along a path. Sometimes the path is so hard and we can’t see where it’s going. And Sometimes there are choices to make and the path seems unclear.

I love this poem by Robert Frost.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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When we felt God’s calling to adopt two older special needs girls from China, we undoubtably chose the path less travelled.

Today, looking back over the past twenty months, the difficulties and the blessings, I have to heartedly join with Robert Frost in his timeless words.

“And I, I took the road less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Blessings All!

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