When the Ordinary Breaks open the Spectacular

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, shown in her pottery studio

It’s been a difficult summer in our garden. A groundhog carried off our vegetables. All of them, save a few green tomatoes that are still desperately clinging to the vine, this late in September. They stare at us wondering if we notice their lingering presence. I don’t know when I’m going to get around to picking them off their brown scraggly vine and putting away the wire cages.

If it wasn’t for our dear neighbor Adriana, the postal service (such as it is) would have stopped delivery for lack of access to the mailbox. She was kind enough to wack away at our jungle with a machete. (I’m not kidding). Thank God she did, otherwise, I think people would think no one lived here. It was embarrassing.

We also have a raised flower bed out back by the kitchen door. We grow herbs there: basil, parsley, and a potted hibiscus plant. The basil has passed its peak and is dried out now, too late to gather seeds for next year. Out front, I’m not sure when we will be able to dig up the calla lily bulbs, there are too many of them and that’s a lot of back-bending work. “Why would you dig them up and replant them again in Spring in the first place?” —says me, the non-gardener. Might just have to leave them in all winter. Oh well.

We have excellent excuses: bad back, bad knees, heavy schedules, it’s raining, it’s going to rain, we can take care of it tomorrow, and of course ‘age”. You know the drill. These excuses are ways to explain to ourselves how some ordinary tasks of life can get away from us.  And suddenly, you realize things are getting out of hand. Like taking out the trash and dragging the bin to the curb — sometimes keeping up the house is a drag.

Ah but then! A sunny day for once and just the right timing. I came home from the office one afternoon, pulled around the driveway to the back door and caught a glimpse of something emanating from the raised flower bed.  WHAT THE HECK IS THAT? The color screamed out at me, I thought Adriana put something in there. Holy mackerel! It was the hibiscus itself — as brilliant as the sun itself!  A fully opened erect, proud, intensely yellow circle shining like the sun, with sparkling raindrops that looked like jeweled ice.

Just look at that photo. Is it not shockingly beautiful? Look at the raindrops dancing on the petals.  Notice how delicate the edges are and the ripples that undulate all around the surface. I loved this so much I took a picture and posted it to FaceBook with the caption: After the rain this morning the sun opened this version of itself.

This is a stunning shift in my soul. How is it that a simple flower that is here today and gone tomorrow, can move mountains of blah, I don’t feel like it? Mountains of I’ll get to it later.,

This stunning shift that lifts my soul into brightness, into energy, into AHHHHH. This shift reminds me of the quote from Meister Eckhart: “And suddenly you know: its time to start something new and trust the miracle of beginnings.”

I think I’ll empty the trash and pick those green tomatoes.





Posted in News, Weekly Word

11 responses to “When the Ordinary Breaks open the Spectacular

  1. Beautiful!! and hiding among the leaves I can even see a white bunny, like the the ones skipping around in our back yard.

  2. Thank you, Anne!
    You reminded me once again to pay attention. Our dear St. Catherine knew “all the way to heaven is heaven.” Look at the beauty of the hibiscus! I imagine they grow well in heaven!
    Gratefully, Connie

  3. Appreciate the real life sharing that we all know about our procrastinating, and really for no good reason. And then, the sun does break through and startle each of us into some form of wonderful response. Thank you for sharing this symbolic photo!

  4. Thank you, Anne. This is a shot in the arm for me to wake me up, shake off my end of the summer blahs, and appreciate the spectacular in my ordinary days which seem to pile up and hide the spectacular right in front of me.

  5. Thanks for your reflection, Anne! Just what I’m guessing many of us… and definitely “moi”… needed!


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