Life Finds a Way –
Outside of our bathroom window, there is a huge limb that was torn down by a massive thunderstorm last year. I was able to get most of its almost twenty-five-foot length sawed off and hauled away but the chainsaw I used stopped working. It was my intent to get to the last, biggest, ten-foot portion of it but never did. Yesterday, while mowing the grass, I noticed there was a plant growing out of the long-dead limb. What was lifeless and useless had become home to new life.
Today is a friend’s birthday. It is a bittersweet day because it is the first one she’s had in over forty years that she cannot share with her partner who passed away. It has been a hard day for her. She has friends who are looking after her, a family that’s doing their best to care but it’s not the same. There’s not an hour that goes by she doesn’t think about him. Not a day where her heart doesn’t ache from the hole death has left in her life. However, in the midst of loss, new growth has begun. It’s slow and most days unrecognizable but it’s there; a new courage and a new strength. The new life doesn’t replace the loss. It grows partly because of and in spite of it.
In the midst of heartbreak that is this world, life finds a way.
What’s in a Day? –
I was once asked by someone; “What do you want to do with your life? What are your plans for the future?” I was sitting outside, leaned back and thought for a moment and then surprising my interrogator and myself replied; “I’m doing it. I am content. I have no more plans.” My friend didn’t like my answer because everyone should have something they are striving for. How else can you measure life unless it’s by your accomplishments? As a contemplative wisdom teaches that days are measured by the moments when you are aware of your connectedness to all living things and that the universe is in every experience.
What would you do if today were your last? Martin Luther is reputed to have said, “If I knew the world would end tomorrow, I would plant a tree.” In other words, I would contribute to the beauty of the world and thus the universe. As Marcus Aurelius states in the quote, I would want to live my last day as I hope to live every day; “without frenzy, without apathy, without pretense.”
“…desire truth in your deepest parts; learn wisdom in the inmost place.”
My Friday Lauds (morning prayer) always include Psalm 51. This poem/song is recited on Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday, and is read by contemplatives, oblates, monks, and others every Friday in remembrance of the most Holiest of days when Jesus mounted the cross.
Following Lauds I like to take a stroll through the yard prayerfully, meditating and mindfully breathing the prayer phrase to myself. (To the observing eye no doubt it looks as if I am talking to myself. Add this to the growing list as why our neighbors think we are strange southern folk!) As I ambled reflectively I noticed a poor, struggling rose bush with one lone blossom. It is surrounded, choked?, by a vine, rooted next to a wall, not in a good place for light, failing at being beautiful, yet still growing where it’s planted.
“Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions.”
The wonderful quote above, from Saint John Climacus, is in regard to confession and humility, but might it also be said of wisdom and truth? If we were the bush would we demand to be replanted, complain about our surroundings, see one bloom as a failure, or would we see perfection?
Wisdom and truth reveal to us that the purpose of the rose bush is to bloom and it is doing what it is intended to do. Nature doesn’t judge how many, how beautiful, what other rose bushes are doing. The rose bush isn’t worried about the vine, the wall, the lack of sun, or someone’s opinion of its beauty.
“…desire truth in your deepest parts; learn wisdom in the inmost place”
What if life is not vainly trying/striving to make everything around us fit our idea of perfection, our paradigm of what life should be, but rather simply growing, blooming where we are planted?
May truth and wisdom find a home in the deepest part of you.
peace and grace,