Monday, November 24, 2014

Life in Bloom...

"To everything there is a season..." so says the writer of Ecclesiastes
in a well-known, oft-quoted passage. And I usually trust that to be
true. But then there is my Christmas cactus...which for the nine or so
years I have had it has faithfully and stubbornly bloomed about four
weeks before the aforementioned time...bursting forth in all its
glory at Thanksgiving. Every year. Without fail.

As I looked at it today, counting the many blooms and the many
more buds- in a few more days it will be covered with blossoms- I
found myself thinking about this whole "season" thing. We use that
saying to comfort ourselves, I think, with the notion, the belief,
that things unfold as they should, when they should, in the overall
scheme of things. And in the world of nature, at least, that is most
often true. Summer follows spring follows winter follows fall, and
so it goes, year after year...a promise of sorts to which we tightly
hold and in which we find great comfort. It gives a sense of rightness
to this often not-so-right world we inhabit, the lives we struggle
through day after day.

Only, not always... because sometimes the word from the doctor is
not what we want to hear, leaving us with a sense of "not yet... too
soon", as we are forced to contemplate our own mortality. Or the
spouse we had trusted and depended upon has told us that s/he no
longer loves us and the lovely, colorful autumn of a marriage, filled
with so much promise, suddenly becomes instead a cold, lonely
winter. Or the job which was supposed to take you comfortably
to retirement in a few years no longer has room in it for you and
you are displaced, replaced... and all you can think is, "Too soon...
it wasn't supposed to happen yet."

And so, perhaps, my lovely, out-of-sync Christmas cactus is simply
Reality in living color...a blooming reminder that life often does not
unfold in the organized, predictable way we would like, I would
prefer. Life instead continually surprises us- sometimes gloriously,
Other times with a blow to the solar plexus which takes our breath
Away and leaves us sagging on the ropes, wondering just what hit
us. But when I think about it...really think about it... I realize that
I would not want it any other way. Security is a myth at best... and
the glory of unpredictability is what can take my breath away with
both joy and sorrow, with both overwhelming happiness and
unmitigated pain. It is being here matter what. And it
made me think of a poem I had written several years ago...

today's prayer
To live without a why...
to be simply because I am...
to open my heart to give and receive
     simply out of giving and receiving's joy...
to step from the barren anteroom of life
     Into the beautiful, crowded, overflowing
     event itself...
to bloom, prodigally flourishing,
     whether or not anyone else notices or
     approves, scattering petals and fragrance
     with delighted abandon...
to taste and savor the fullness of who
     I am, recognizing and welcoming
     the divine dwelling within...
to refrain from the diligent effort of
     seeking and searching, wandering and
     wondering, long enough to realize
     that I am already fully "home"...

"Ah, Spirit," I breathe-
     and I am filled.

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