A bloom of sunburst beauty, illiminating the cloudy morning of a well-groomed yard.
The carefully cultivated return of spring, seeds planted in the cool of autumn bursting forth after a long winter’s germination. The result of planning and hard work on the part of a faithful gardener.
What do you see?
A weed. It springs up overnight in the midst of slumbering Bermuda; Bermuda which will soon enough assert itself and choke the life out of the interloper, if the chemicals from the lawn service don’t get to it first.
I have been wanting to pull it for a week now, ever since it jumped from the earth after a long rain. It is embarrassing, I say. What will the neighbor’s think? I exclaim.
Kim will have none of it. There’s beauty there, she says. Let it have its moment in the sun, she insists.
Then we read together in our Lent book these words from someone grieving the loss of children in a bombing: “Then she burst into my room and grabbed me by the hand and said, ‘Hurry.’ We raced two blocks to an abandoned house where a front yard had just been attacked and overtaken by wild violets, by Johnny-jump-ups. We stood in silence for three long minutes and cheered the victory of beauty.”
It is a grace how beauty finds a way, even in the midst of desolation and dormancy, even in the dark, in spite of all we do to snuff it out.
Kim is right. We should celebrate beauty even in the most unlikely of places. We should certainly not be embarrassed by it. Sometimes all it requires is perspective, eyes to see.
So, probably out of fear I will sneak out and pull it up, she brings the weed inside, sets it in a place of honor.
Soon enough the Bermuda will awaken, the “normal” flowers we planted last year or bought and carefully controlled and cultivated will bloom. But here, especially in this week we call Holy, it is time to contemplate the life that comes unbidden, unexpectedly, completely out of our much-vaunted control, and in its wake a mysterious beauty that hints at a love beyond all telling.
And when, after the long dark night, it springs forth, we join our alleluias to the host of heaven.
This week asks the question of us.
What do you see?