I've been meaning to start blogging again for a long time. Kind of like I’ve been meaning to set up weekly meal plans or clean out the shed (wait, that one’s not my job). I don’t read enough to be great writer nor do I have anything to say that hasn't already been said by writers infinitely more gifted than I. But somehow when I am able to capture my ruminating thoughts and put them into written words, it feels as if I’m harnessing one of my own natural resources and turning it into power. In other words, it’s a way for me to preach the gospel to myself. And perhaps one or two others of you will be encouraged by what you read. So consider this the first installment of a series I’ve been meaning to start for awhile. Lord only knows if there will ever be a second, but I’ve got some great material swirling around in my wind-tunnel-of-a-brain.
The irises are in full bloom here in Charlotte. Have you noticed? Just a few steps into my run this morning I saw a dozen glorious yellow blooms draped across the front of a tiny brick house around the corner. They were absolutely aglow in the morning sunlight and I was immediately taken by their beauty. Five seconds later (insert needle scratch) I noticed the overgrown yard situated between my eyeballs and the irises, way taller than what the city allows. Trust me, I know these things. My joy was quickly overtaken by irritation. Okay, anger. I started running again, vowing to report this travesty of a yard to the city as soon as I finished my workout.
But here’s where the story took a twist. As I thought about it more, I realized that the typical order of my thoughts had been reversed. In my usual pattern of thinking, I would have noticed the situation with the yard first, moved directly to anger and perhaps action (311 on the mobile device is super easy, people). Then, maybe I would have seen the irises. Or not.
This felt like a monumental shift had taken place inside of me. Instead of fixating on the ugliness of that yard for the rest of my run and all the thoughts that normally may have followed, I began to notice irises in bloom everywhere! I stopped to take in their beauty up close, sticking my nose in to inhale the sweet aroma, examining the shading of their beards, admiring the delicate draping of petals as they gently fluttered in the breeze. When my mind wanted me to believe this was an incredible waste of time and the day's "to do" list beckoned, I allowed those thoughts to simply float on by, reminding myself that I am a human being, not a human doing.
I realized the irises in most of the yards had been there for many years, decades perhaps, first planted by someone who is likely long departed from this earth. Maybe even forgotten by all who knew and loved them. I tried to imagine what their lives may have looked like, making up stories to entertain myself. I thought of my husband's Grandma Mary. I never met her but I’ve heard many stories about her love for her garden, which lived on through her daughter, Willie Jean. My husband grasped this appreciation and over our 35 years of life together, my own appreciation and passion for nature has flourished in part because of his influence. You see how this gift just keeps on giving?
So thank you to all the whoever-you-are's for planting and nurturing your own little piece of creation all those many years ago. Today, they have pointed me to God's glory, simply by living into who they were created to be, which is their true purpose.
Where have you noticed beauty lately? It’s so choice, like pure oxygen driving out the pollution that clutters our soul. I highly recommend it.
(It’s 5:30pm. I still have no idea what’s for dinner. And, I don’t care.)
"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." Psalm 24:1