Saturday, February 25, 2012

Thorns, redbuds, and a diaper pin

Can you identify this thorny vine?
I spent part of Ash Wednesday weeding - pulling vines out of the holly bushes, cutting back bamboo, pulling grass and weeds out of the flower beds, trying to steer clear of any poison ivy.   There's a particularly thorny vine that wants to take over my yard, it seems.  I don't even know it's name - but it's very prickly and blooms with a little white flower.  Even with two pairs of leather gloves, I felt the tiny thorns as I pulled it out of even pricklier holly bushes and asparagus ferns.  

I think weeding will be my spiritual discipline this year for Lent.  Rather than giving up something I love, I'm going to look for the weeds in my spiritual life and pull them out by the roots.  Grass growing in the wrong place. Prickly vines taking over. Bamboo that persistently returns to sprout in the middle of my lawn.  Smilax winding up the crepe myrtle.  Nettles, plaintain, white clover.  Even the star aster that I planted myself and then found that it would completely take over the flower bed.  

What are those weeds in my own life that need to be pulled, cut back, or uprooted?  What are those things that waste my time and energy?  What creates chaos in my life? What activities have simply outgrown their place?  What are those things that have taken over my spiritual garden, leaving no room for the Holy? Time for some weeding!


Frosty country barn
Eastern redbuds in the mist
Spring thaw, flaming bright

        This is a haiku I jotted in my journal after a misty mountain walk in the mountains in Tryon, N.C. The magnificent purple-pink blooms of the Eastern Redbud trees were the only color breaking a mostly gray landscape while I was there. It's one of the prettiest times of the year for this tree, and I was delighted to witness its passage into spring. The haiku captures the moment and mood for me more than other ways of journaling. The short poems, which can be read in one breath, feel like clean, simple meditations, verbal snapshots of emotion.


     Inside the collar of my ministerial robe hides an object that looks a bit out of place. When I was given the robe during my ordination, it came with a green stole, the kind we wear during ordinary time. That one is tapered at the place where it goes around my neck, so the next time I wore my robe, to preach at Providence during ordinary time, my stole stayed in place.
      In the winter of 2010, I was asked to do my first funeral, which called for the white stole I had gotten as a gift but not yet worn. This was not just any funeral. My Gramma Carolyn was the one in the casket. I had a lot on my mind as I arrived at my parents' house in KY the day before the funeral. The fact that my stole wouldn't stay in place just added to the stress.
      My mother and I tried to safety pin it, but we couldn't find a pin large or strong enough to go through the thick robe and stole. "I think I've got something that may work," Mom said, and went rummaging in drawers until she found what she was looking for -- one of the diaper pins they used when I was a baby. It was the right size, and seemed fitting in other ways, too. Now it is a permanent part of my ministerial attire. It reminds me of the whole person I am, past and present, child and adult, daughter and granddaughter and minister. Amazing that one little pin can hold so much together.


No comments:

Post a Comment