"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Is It Time to Look Beyond the Obvious?

By Micky Wolf
It’s been a long, hot summer in our little corner of the country, all of which has created a moderate drought. Some regions of the country have been suffering through worse—extremes of heat and fire or record-breaking rain and flooding.

My beloved and I have done our best to water the fruits and vegetables. Other plant life, vis a vie the lovely smoke bush that grows next to one end of our deck, are so big it would be nigh unto impossible to provide the volume necessary to keep them healthy and whole.

As a result, that bush—along with many other shrubs, perennials and lawns in our neighborhood—are doing what they can to survive. Go into preservation mode.

In other words, these plants let go of what might be considered the nonessentials and focus on the priority—concentrating all resources on the primary roots and infrastructure.

Here’s the interesting part of observing the drought-induced changes that are occurring around us. In the early stages, you couldn’t tell the difference by the outward appearance of the bush.

That is…until the leaves began to turn a light ginger color, followed by a dark brown and then brittleness. The slightest breeze and they waft to the ground.

This is the obvious part. The not-so-noticeable precursor?

Before the deep, green, shiny leaves (to the right in the accompanying photo) manifested any of what was happening internally, they looked normal. Healthy. Until you touched them—and then they too floated soundlessly to the ground.

Truth be told, the dying and letting go process was well underway, yet you would have never guessed that to be true from outward appearance alone.

Which leads to two (at least) insights that bear wisdom for you and me.

Sometimes we need to let go of the non-essentials in order to maintain, even grow, our best life.

Not a perfect life. Not an it’s-all-about-me life. No, a life that is centered on finding it’s sustenance in the source of all that is good and loving. In Christian parlance, that is a life rooted and grounded in the well of provision—the Divine—that never runs dry, even when we think or feel otherwise. Even when, from outward appearance, everything looks fine and dandy.

Secondly, we may find ourselves in circumstances or events well beyond our control. 

Nonetheless, that’s not the end of the story, for us or the smoke bush. That is unless we decide to give up or choose to deny or ignore the present reality.

Respond? Take action? Yes.

The smoke bush doesn’t have to be told what to do. Not so for you and me. Given the gift of free will, we can sit and wait for the last breath of life to escape our hearts and soul…or we can draw ever more closely to our Creator God who alone knows what we need, how much, when, where, and in what manner or form.

But that doesn’t always make head-sense, does it? After all, I can’t see God. Or touch him. Or feel him.

Then again, neither can the smoke bush. It simply does what needs to be done, nothing more, nothing less.

How do I feel about my outward appearance in relationship to the condition of my heart? Comfortable? Uncomfortable?

What are the nonessentials in my life?

How willing am I to let go of the nonessentials?


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