From left to right: red poppies in Northern Spain; seaside daisies in San Diego; bluebonnets in Houston
Since late-March I have been drawn to wild flowers. In Texas, bluebonnets captured my attention. I spent an afternoon sitting among bluebonnet patches in Hershey Park along Buffalo Bayou in Houston, talking to a friend about life. In San Diego, everyday I sat on the front patio of my parents' home, bedazzled by the carpet of purple seaside daisies. In the Pinnacles National Monument south of San Jose, I noticed how California poppies dotted the landscape along the trails. On the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain, wild flowers were almost omnipresent, blooming everywhere, despite clouds that shrouded much sunlight. The red poppies that blanketed the rolling hills near the town of Santa Domingo de Calzada reminded me of the way golden poppies cover the soft hills of California. In the Alps near Munich a multitude of wild flowers grow. Again, despite rainy weather this week on the Bavarian countryside, wild flowers abound. Thus, I cannot help but run into wild flowers these past three months.
Likewise, I cannot help but run into grace these past three months, in a similar way that I encounter wild flowers. This "coincidence" prompts me to observe the following similarities. Like wild flowers, grace "pops" up everywhere; it blossoms "wildly," so to speak. Like the wind which no one can "tell where it comes from and where it goes," grace blooms wherever the Spirit blows (Jn 3:8). In unexpected places, in surprising ways, with unpredictable logic. And like wild flowers, grace brings about a discovery. We notice life - beauty, meaning, and goodness - that has lain dormant. We discover more beauty, deeper meaning, or greater goodness in places and experiences that previously seemed like ugliness, dead winter, only with suffering, without meaning. Grace ushers "new" life that we may have missed along the way. A dear friend puts it charmingly: "I was so happy to see bluebonnets grow along the side of a ditch, adorning and making a little ugly ditch look so pretty!"
Thus grace, like wild flowers, appears everywhere, in any circumstance, bringing about life or beauty in surprising ways. Just as it's improper to domesticate wild flowers, it's also not proper for us to grow, bring about, or make grace happens. It's better to allow ground for wild flowers to grow and space for grace to flow. It's better to discover them with a spirit of openness rather than a mindset that predicts, expects, or forces.
This year, I am very blessed to travel through three Continents. From adventures in Asia to experiencing Europe (for the first time). Perhaps it has been easier for me to notice because the period of April-June is springtime in the US as well as in Europe. Perhaps my time through Tertainship has brought about a springtime in my spiritual life.
Yet, regardless of the seasons in nature or those of our spiritual lives, wild flowers dot both our physical terrains and inner landscapes. Grace is present. It may be more difficult to spot wild flowers and grace as summer approaches. (Yesterday, June 21st, officially marked the beginning of summer). Yet, they are still present, hidden beneath things or disguised behind tough or painful experiences. Grace abounds.
Let us be surprised by grace. Let us put aside 10' of silence for prayer or reflection each day so we might be surprised by grace. Let us treat one another in ways that make room for wild flowers. Let us be surprised by grace.