show. For if we let those paper thin signs of hope and beauty into the world too early, they can get crushed or damaged and never come to bear fruit.
In my own journey I have certainly seen this. I needed to be in a safe place, away from those who caused me harm, before I could put out the feelers to see if it was, indeed, a time and place to allow the fragile petals to unfurl into the world. The leaves, tougher and able to catch the sunlight and water to feed my soul, could send a message to my core if it ready for a more fruitful part of me. The paper thin truth whispered into the air, the unfolding to offer sweet fragrance, the opening to feed with sweet nectar. But if I had done this too early, I would have been blown away, or frozen and fallen to the ground to be crushed once more.
Sometimes this process can feel like it takes too long, like the flowers will never be safe to bloom. But when you wait until the time and place are right to receive you, flowering is beautiful! That bud of hope and healing can open and grow and be such a gorgeous gift to the world!
If you are in a time of waiting, be gentle and patient with yourself in the waiting. If you are watching the world for a sign that it’s ready for your next healing step, allow the space for it to happen. If your leaves are out feeling for love in the world, let them feel. When the time and circumstances are right, you will know. And when that time comes, show yourself with courage, slowly opening to one who is welcoming, trustworthy, safe, loving. For your unfurling is a beautiful gift to yourself and the world.
In the words of the poet Hafiz in the poem “It Felt Love”:
How did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its being,
We all remain
Here, in Minnesota, we are just starting to see the first whispers of green on the trees. Sometimes I think I’m only imagining it, but at other times it draws me in with a promise that takes my breath away. It is a green like I have never seen before, gentle and filled with hope. And it is slow to come into leaf, the hints just hanging there, waiting for their time, knowing what they know, refusing to rush just in case another frost comes along. Sometimes there is a hint of orange-ish brown too, other leaves beginning their unfolding, bringing reflection of the colors of fall into this new season.
These trees bring me pause on so many levels. Do I have their patience (ummmm…. no!!!). Can I wait to unfurl slowly in time, or do I try to rush things? Can I shine the beauty I have right here, right now? Not worrying if it is enough.
I am in a time of discernment right now, having applied for a new job. The job, I think, will allow me to use more of my skills than the current job, but it’s an extra day of work a week with only a couple of actual work hours more. It will be a 30 minute driving commute, rather than a 5 minute walk. But I will get to work with people, one on one and in groups, applying some spiritual direction skills (I think) and learning new skills such as helping people with physical therapy exercises and working with people with dementia. So I’m torn.
As I prayed this morning I heard God ask, “How can you be more of who you are where you are?” And I don’t know the answer to this, but it reminded me of the trees. They are being themselves where they are, shining what they can shine right now. They are not rushing to show their full glory, to use all their gifts. Instead, they are waiting for the right time, steadfast in their rootedness of place. Is this what’s being asked of me? Or am I being called to take a step out? I don’t feel like either job is what I’m really called to, so should I wait? Or do something that might be closer to it? And would a new job somehow stop me from putting enough energy into building my spiritual direction practice and beginning to take people out into nature as a new part of that?
So many questions. For now, I’ll interview tomorrow, and continue to pray, listening to the wisdom of God, in Nature, in prayer and in my heart.
What ways are you showing your unfolding nature? How are you being called to patience? Where is Nature reflecting where you are on your journey right now?