Grasses and Groaning


Rare is the time when I’m alone in our home yet I find myself always craving it, the silence of sitting in my kitchen office with nothing but the humming of the refrigerator as my background noise.

These days we are keeping the shades in the dining room half open all day because the oppressive Oklahoma sun has taken it’s winter break.

There’s a pond behind our house, just beyond our picket fence.  It’s nothing to write home about, I can assure you, but when we first moved in I cried with joy at the very thought that I had a view of water from my kitchen window.

Sad how blessings depreciate with time, isn’t it?  I hardly even notice it anymore.

The pond is less visible these days because tall water grasses have popped up around , nearly obscuring our view of the water which used to so beautifully reflect the evergreens behind it.

These grasses are rusty gold and dead for the year, yet no matter how strongly the Oklahoma winter wind blows, they stay rooted in the watery muck, their roots so deep.

For days now the sight of these dead, wind bent reeds have been speaking something to me that I can’t put my finger on.

Something profound but completely elusive to my consciousness.

Then today, in the stillness of the house over my last sip of coffee I think I figured it out.

These grasses speak to the groaning within.

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Romans 8:20-22″

You know… THAT groaning.

They’re still standing, even though the seasons have found them and their days are numbered.  They sway and bend with the wind but they don’t break, not yet, not until the times comes for them to wilt and fall into the water.

Come spring other grasses will take their place, doing the work that they were uniquely created to do, providing protection for the birds and ducks that sometimes pay our pond a visit.  They will have grown from the seed and decay of the grasses that I see swaying now.

So the seasons will continue, over and over again, death of season giving way to birth and new life.

It’s all sad and hopeful at the same time.

Sad because I’m painfully aware that my days are numbered, like the grasses, my time to stretch toward the sun won’t last forever.  I have to use my days to seed and nourish those who will take my place seasons down the road.

As I get older, day by day I make peace with it.  Some days the idea of season’s end stings not because I’ll be gone but because I’ll leave holes in the lives of those I have loved.

Then when those hot tears come I long for the completion of it all, the last story in the trilogy of Christ.  First came the birth, the advent of the Savior was realized by the powerful baby in the lowly, itchy manger.

Then the guts and painful redemption of the cross, where the final blow was struck.

And now we do the work of loving, telling and waiting, biding time with hopeful bated breath.

These days I find myself aching to be held a lot by someone wiser and stronger than I am.  I long to be be fully known by one who can soothe the hurts that life inevitably inflicts.  To soothe the heart-wounds that are bound to find their way to a mother and traveler such as me.

Later on in that verse in Romans Paul writes that in our time of swaying and aching that the spirit intercedes through our wordless groans.  When the brokenness is more than we can verbalize he carries it to the ears of Our Father with perfect clarity.

In that way, I can get a taste of Eternity right now on my fading green couch.  Truly he has anticipated every situation in his word if we are willing to meet him between the lines.

May I never stop my lips from the thankful Hallelujah that comes from the story we have in our hands today.  This already but not yet story of Jesus.

The sad moments over quiet coffee will and should come, for the longing to be held and known fully is part of our human experience.  Yet, may they gave way to a peaceful sign, a resolution to go out with joy and be led forth with peace, because even though creation groans, it worships.

So today I worship with these small words of truth

I give thanks for the eggs on plastic plates given nourish our today

I hold my littles ones (when they let me) and I allow myself to be held by the promise

I give thanks for the day, the work we have left to do

For another day full of joyful swaying, some groaning and another rainfall of peace.

  • Jill


  • Brenna D (@chicagomama)

    Ah, friend….beautiful.

    • leannepenny

      I know you are but what am I? 😉

  • staceydaze

    Thank you.

    • Mark Allman (@Vaderalman)

      “I have to use my days to seed and nourish those who will take my place seasons down the road.” May we do this well Leanne.

  • Celeste

    Wow. So beautifully written. I am a songwriter and about 3 months ago I started a song about this groaning, but I was never able to finish it until tonight, when I read your blog. So thank you. I wish there was a way I could sing it for you.

    • leannepenny

      Wow, Celeste, that is so humbling!