Lilacs and the Spirit

In deep vibrant purples with fragrance as strong as their apparent will to grow, my 7-year-old lilac bush thrives virulently in our backyard. Why are these plants, or any life so special? Just like their owner, this baby cutting has grown despite the sometimes hidden, sometimes overgrown challenges in its life. Snow, rain, cuttingly cold winds. My most recent example is a medical diagnosis of my ADHD that until very recently had gone “unpruned” for over 40 years. Racing thoughts, lack of apparent focus, impetuosity, self-esteem, organization and more, I have with God’s help made it through to where I am, my will trying to shadowbox in ways difficult to win… bending, flowing, doing the best I can. Like my lilac, I continue to grow, sometimes seemingly hurt by reactions of myself and others, sometimes aware that God was guiding me, pruning me to make my life more beautiful, a difference for others. Nonetheless, praying for guidance, love and support with needed wind, nutrients, water.

Whatever you need pruned in your life, in you, the Master Gardener knows what you need and how to guide you there. I have been slowly opening and becoming receptive to following practices to meditate, to face the day, to be open to the hurt. Letting go in such Contemplative practices of praying without words, just sitting with God, with practices as centering prayer and lectio divina of the daily Scriptures and mindfulness (all prayer is good) daily, following my heart in playing piano and writing, dancing, deepening my connection with Nature, with photography, journaling, exercising and my dog and I training for and doing Pet Pals As I have opened, like the lilac blooms, the Gardener moves in my heart. In the stillness, there are answers through listening.

In John 15:1-17 Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. With each “pruning” I learn more about the wonder of being present, rusting the process, not determining the result. Let it come. Wonder.

Whoever looks on the outside dreams, whoever looks on the inside, awakens…Carol Jung. The Flow of Love, Life. Christ is in all. Are you willing to be still to perceive Him?

What do you see? An unruly child getting messy with paint on her hands and clothes or a work of unjudged, loving creation springing forward. Paint on the face, with a giggle and joy of look what I did, Mom! Just for you! Curls tangled with a bow tilted at a cockeyed angle. We progress in our seeing with the joy deep inside your heart. Only one Being will judge.

Notes from a page or a piano solo expressing gentle, wordless joy of harmonies from the soul? A photograph of almost perfectly correct. The right composition or the capturing of an unjudged image of God’s love across the sky. Is it in the doing or in the process of being in faith? Becoming? A poem flowing from the heart of God’s love creating the world or a series of syllables flowing in exactly correct measure?

My constant fight with trying to fit in, to match up, struggles in life may be partly, but not completely over. Racing thoughts, self-judging, lack of focus lessened with less pressure to be that dependent on others person, that was part of the struggle I have faced. Understand that no one way is right for everyone, and I have found solace in guidance from those who have training to guide me. But I have had to be ready to listen. Are you ready to listen?

The Light in my heart is slowly showing me how to trust, like my lilacs trust their Creator. To be receptive. For example, to see the Gardener in loving friends who have not judged but love, meditation, caring words from the Scripture come to life, and yes, finally try medical intervention as food for the body, nutrients, wind under sails, water. My world may be a little different now. There is much value in knowledge, facts and figures in this world. But it isn’t the only way to gain understanding. Words are only what you allow them to be. Do you take steps to see past the words?

Friends, we all have the opportunity to grow, like the lilacs, giving Glory to the One tending us and with trust in our Master Gardener. Our own pressures created in this world can serve us helping us grow in love with our God. There is a Way to turn that negative hurt with fear of change into an acceptance of Grace from the Father who will give you all that you need if you just take time to see the world as it is. Will you take the time to see, accept it? To reach out in prayer, in Nature, in Scripture, to ministers, trusted friends, family, for example.

As the birds sing out on rainy days and the squirrels scurry along precarious fences, dandelions bloom in the sidewalk cracks, trees naturally bend not questioning the flow of the nutrients. All grow, all accept and move into the flow of being a part of that growing Creation, patience in seeing, accepting yourself and others just to be a part of the whole.

Open, receptive and loving. The fruits of the spirit are the pruning tools. Will you grow as my lilac grows, giving and accepting with love.

Reference also: Guardians of Being by Eckhart Tolle.

© 2023 Bonnie L Smith-Davis