Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bulbs and the golden string

September 30, 2012

Dear friends,

William Stafford (and, before him, William Blake) had an idea of something they called the “golden string.” By this they meant that if we truly think about the smallest thing, that we will find ourselves led to a deep sense of the world and of ourselves within the network of life in which we are embodied.

One day this week I found myself holding the end of a golden string. Actually, I was holding two flower bulbs in my hand (one a dahlia, the other an allium bulb). Here is where my “golden string” led me.

-I hold two small morsels of life and latent beauty in my hand.
-Both bulbs contain life, but very different forms of life.
-I cannot see in the present appearance of these bulbs the life that may emerge.
-Each bulb requires a different environment in which to survive and prosper.
-Effective gardening requires knowledge of the seed and the soil and the complex interaction between the two.
-I cannot provide the sunlight and air that this life requires. The life of the bulbs, like my life, is dependent upon our life-sustaining God.
-But as a gardener, I can carefully place each bulb in that place where, so far as my knowledge permits, I enhance the potential of each life to grow and flourish.
-I cannot by personal effort or autocratic edict insure that growth with occur, and beauty bloom.  It does not lie in my power to order alliums to display their tall purple beauty against that old brick wall. I can assist and nurture life, but I cannot cause it.
-Nurturing relationships requires a kind of gardening. I cannot insure that a relationship will grow and flourish. I can, however, with thoughtful prayerful attention provide as best I can an environment in which those who share life space with me grow and flourish.
-For each of us, our growing up and growing together is ultimately a matter of relationship with God. But at the same time, we need to remain mindful of our uniqueness: allium by the brick wall, dahlias in the corner near the gate.
-Do I sometimes expect friends to flourish in the soil that I like best?
Wondering where your “golden string” has led you this week. In handling small things what have you discovered about relationships and life?

See you next week.



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