May 13, 2015
OK, this isn’t a lily. It’s a dandelion. In fact, it’s what those who want to have a beautiful, weed-free lawn might call a pesky dandelion.
And it isn’t in a field. It’s growing out of rocks. These particular rocks, however, are the remains of the 13th Century Augustinian Nunnery on the Isle of Iona off the west coast of Scotland.
What I love about this picture is how this ordinary “weed” truly adorns this ancient ruin so full of history, a building that was once filled with daily prayers and chants and tears and struggles of women living out a vocation of prayer and work in a wild and sometimes harsh environment. This isn’t just a ruined pile of sterile stones on an empty windswept lot; it is still sustaining life.
I like to think that the women looked out into their fields and saw these sunny blobs of yellow popping up as Spring finally arrived and gave thanks to God for giving them all that they need. I enjoyed a dandelion greens salad while on Iona; perhaps the women ate dandelion greens salads, too, and perhaps they enjoyed honey from the bees that visit the flowers. I imagine they looked out at these “weeds” and recognized them as sustenance provided by God.
Do not worry about your life, Jesus says. God gives us all everything. Look at what God gives to and in creation. Will not God give you even more?
Sustenance comes in many forms. Food. Prayer. Loving touch. Poetry. Beauty. And glorious beauty is all around us, if we will look for it, even (especially?) in what we might otherwise consider ordinary. God has given beauty to us to sustain us.
Go outside today and see the beauty in your neighborhood. Look for it in unlikely places. See if your discovery of “ordinary” beauty helps you let go of some of your worries so that you can give thanks to God for sustaining life so gloriously.