Like so many of you, dear readers, I have been deeply saddened by the suffering in Ukraine, a suffering that extends far beyond its borders in an ever-widening circle. Yet, I stubbornly insist upon believing in hope. With so many people caring and helping in any way they can — there is always hope.
In honor of this tragic situation, I offer “Meditation XVII” by John Donne (1572 – 1631):
No man is an island,
Entire of itself;
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main;
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
As well as if a promontory were,
As well as if a manor of thy friend's,
Or of thine own were;
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind;
And therefore never send to know
For whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
I like looking at things that are tall. When I walk, I look at the treetops (which is sometimes hazardous to my feet), and I look at the mountains. Though I love them both, the mountains provide the best food for thought. There is mystery there. In spite of all the expert climbers who have ever climbed, I am convinced there are places that no human foot has touched. I imagine treasures there, known only to the birds — a rare blossom rising from a crag in the rocks, a hidden cave that glistens with veins of gold, a hidden spring, a strange creature never previously seen.
Beyond their physical mystery, mountains remind me that there is so much more to life than I am able to discover or grasp. There is so much more in this world that I will never know. This is a source of abiding joy for me. Life is inexhaustible. There is always more. There is always hope. There is always God.
Distressing times in our nation and in the world. Now, in the dead of winter, the temperature drops below freezing every night. Yet, the violets are thinking about spring. The original plants, given to me by a friend, have long since died. They didn’t like the location where I planted them. However, they lived long enough to seed the surrounding area, and ever since, their offspring have delighted me year after year. Before the end of the month, they will be covered in blossoms.
I still believe in faith.
I still believe in hope.
I still believe in love.
As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I’m thinking of all the people who will be alone during the upcoming holidays. After I was orphaned as a teenager, I was alone for many years, even when I was surrounded by people. I know how it feels to be alone. Holidays were the worst.
Whoever you are, and wherever you are, I will be praying for you. If hope eludes you, please know that I will be hoping on your behalf.
If you believe in God, I encourage you to pray for yourself and others. If you don’t believe in God, I encourage you to pray as if youdid.
St. Teresa of Avila’s Bookmark:
Let nothing disturb you;
Let nothing frighten you.
All things pass;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
The one who has God
God alone suffices.
In the market today, I overheard a customer asking the clerk if people were honoring the face mask requirement. “Everyone is so done with face masks, and everyone is in a bad mood,” she replied. (In spite of her comments, everyone was wearing a mask, including the clerk.)
The face mask hadn’t bothered me, but I had been in a bad mood for a few days. Things that didn’t help:
Every two or three years, I talk my husband into a trip to the Texas Hill Country to see the Bluebonnets. This year, we planned to leave the day after Easter. I made reservations. All our plans were in order. But, of course, we had to cancel our trip.
I looked for photos from our previous trips, but they were gone. A few months ago in one of my rare photo purges, I deleted all my photos from the Hill Country.
Then I remembered the Bluebonnet seeds I bought on our last trip. After rummaging through my cupboard, I finally found them, and a few of them sprouted.
Now, a few real leaves are beginning to appear between the seed leaves. I don’t know if the plants will bloom. The weather may be too hot by the time they mature, but they give me hope. Perhaps, in a few weeks, I may enjoy that intoxicating shade of blue once more.
Every year I eagerly await the appearance of Rose Geraniums in the nurseries in June, and every year I grieve when they die in autumn. I never tire of their lovely scent.
Last fall I decided to take a cutting to see if I could keep it alive through the winter. For months it showed no signs of rooting, yet it remained fragrant. Then in January, it finally began to put out roots and new foliage. My dilemma, Gentle Reader, is when to plant it. Will it survive?