This morning I read Luke 12:22-31—“…Consider how the lilies grow…” and so I do.
It’s unseasonably warm here for almost Christmas; the weatherman says it will get up to 65 F today. When I take Lucy Mae out for her morning business, the air is wet with mist and the scent of earth fills my nostrils like so many growing things stirred in the soup of all the seasons gone by. It feels like spring.
And then I read about lilies and it takes me back to a poem I read last night in this book my friend sent me for Christmas. It’s a book of valentine poems and it has been softening my heart for Love.
The Bluet by Ted Kooser
Of all the flowers, the bluet has
the sweetest name, two syllables
that form on the lips, then fall
with a tiny, raindrop splash
into a suddenly bluer morning.
I offer you mornings like that,
fragrant with tiny blue blossoms—
each with four petals, each with a star
at its heart. I would give you whole fields
of wild perfume if only
you could be mine, if you were not—
like the foolish bluet (also called
Innocence)—always holding your face
to the fickle, fly-by kiss
of the Clouded Sulphur Butterfly.
All this talk of lilies and of bluets and the smell of spring makes my heart smile. It takes me back to my girl-ish days when I wondered into fields of bluets so often. My childhood home was a place of secret beauty waiting for my young eyes to unveil. How the bluets could grace a bed of moss—crocheted across the green. I would gather small bundles, clutching lightly at their delicate stick-like stems, and place them in thimbles all about my dollhouse. They were just the right size for that miniature representation and always I sought to make my pretend world more beautiful than the real. With a little imagination I could pretty up these stacks of wooden crates and leftover scraps of our life that I carefully placed together to create a place where I could dream another life. One filled with beauty.
Jeff laughed when I told him the name of these simple flowers, and when he saw a wild violet he asked, “And what are these called? Purplets?” How I do love that man.
I count this scripture about lilies and provision and trust a valentine—just as the poem—and I wonder at the simplicity of it. In this season of excess, remembering my simple life as a child can be a haunting. It’s a fleeting ghost—a pang of empty, a twist of revulsion in the gut. The tree is too big and there is too much red, too many lights, and all these bits of Christmas scattered in every corner seem too much, so pointless and dumb. I mean, I have a tree in my house, for heaven’s sake. Sometimes, I want to strip all this away…it seems like such a waste of time.
On Sunday, Rev. Jan said, in her sermon, “There is one thing God doesn’t do and that’s waste time. He uses it all.”
So, I’ve been thinking about that. Dreaming of valentines. And bluets.