I snapped an image of these lilies on our front lawn five or six weeks ago. As perennials go, they are vociferous. It’s a yearly effort that keeps them from taking over the garden, and each time I see a new ones sprouting, I dig them up and move them out to the creekside, where I can more fully welcome their invasion. Some plants require a lot of work to get them to grow. Others call for clear resolve and skills of management. Evolutionarily, perhaps I was meant for the jungle, but I can’t seem to go there quietly.
Why not just mow everything down and be done with it? The answer to that question is found in the absolute glory that happens every year in mid-summer, the three weeks of profuse color that I cannot take my eyes off of. It’s worth the effort. I love them infinitely more than a grassy lawn. Now they are gone for another year, replaced for a time by the cone-flowers and black-eyed susans.
My father always said that the older you get, the faster the time goes. My theory is that for every year you live, that year becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of your overall life. And if time were merely linear, it could get pretty depressing, a nihilistic affirmation of “life’s a bitch and then you die.”
But the idea of “time” is much more layered than that. Within all of the world’s great traditions one finds a place, whether through prayer, meditation, or mindfulness, where one moves beyond time and space to touch Spirit, universal consciousness, divine intelligence, God, or whatever you wish to call it. If I can make a daily prayer practice that moves me to a place where there is no time, I can come back to the world of clocks and calendars with a much less anxious presence around my lily patch, for example.
For too many centuries my own tradition has been drowning in a sea of materialism, thinking that what we see is what we get, all at the hands of a deity who lives in a far-off heaven. But once we master the idea of incarnation, God With Us, we begin a co-creative process that changes the way we view the world. It enables us to see that tyrants rule only for a season, that, as Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
It may not seem like it when you read the news, but it is true, nonetheless.