Tag Archives: amaryllis

The Lesson of the Amaryllis

The older stalk balances the newer.

The older stalk balances the newer.

“Lesson of the Amaryllis” 2014 DS

This amaryllis plant that disappointed by not blooming at Christmas has provided entertainment in January almost as if it was a pet. In fact as someone with dander allergies, I have come to see that the way this houseplant is described in all of its aspects must be equivalent to the discussions of house pets. Comments about its appearance and activity have been numerous. No movement in growth has gone unnoticed. It has required care too. It must be turned toward the light each day so it does not lean too far one day and topple the pot. Watering is a regular delicate decision enacted on the hothouse soil just below the large rising bulb.

A couple of days ago I suggested that the older stalk be pruned. My spouse disagreed and wanted it left as it was. As in these days of much married experience I have finally learned to pick my battles, I left it. While finishing my breakfast I quipped, “You like its fading beauty?” He muttered: “Yes keep it – it adds to the beauty.” After further reflection over oatmeal and coffee I blurted: “Am I like that…?”

If truth be told, I did not want to watch the blooms lose their colour, crinkle and drop off – the messiness of it all I might have to clean up. This morning my husband informed me that the second stalk was getting a third bud. (We had expected a mere two.) Enjoying the pinkness of it all I suddenly realized that as the younger stalk gets its third bloom it needs the balance of the older stalk. Also, only with the old and the new side by side do we enjoy the continuum of growth across the lifespan of this dramatic plant. Birth and death and birth again – that is kingdom living. An amaryllis joins my collection of contemporary parables

New Year Blooming Amaryllis

 

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“New Year Blooming Amaryllis” 2014, photocollage, DS

This amaryllis is a symbol of all that is good about a fresh year starting.  However, I was having guests and was disappointed the plant did not bloom by Christmas.  Instead it broke forth today.

I was reminded of our own growth in Christ.  As I put the Christmas decorations away this week, Jesus, Emmanuel, is still with us.  He is resurrected.

A woman in one of my workshops before Christmas said with passion that Easter should be celebrated by everyone as more important than that of Christmas. The comment took me by surprise.  I gave her a hurried reply but pondered her words later.  I rushed to give her an answer where there was no need.  Her struggle with theological questions is a sign of her being in an environment conducive to wholeness.  She has made a choice that will give her life.  In her way, she sits at the feet of Jesus.  I had not recognized this before.

Gary Thomas in his book “Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God” writes refreshingly about the journey of the soul being the cultivation of our unique relationship with God.  We need to learn how to renew our spirituality when it has grown lukewarm or dormant.

 Rather than another discipline to add to our new year it might be fun to explore the “Nine Sacred Pathways” explained by Thomas: “[God] created you with a certain personality and a certain temperament.”  Just as the biblical Martha and Mary expressed their devotion to Jesus in different ways, we each have unique ways to contribute to the Body of Christ.

The flower bulb looked mundane yet it had its own way and it’s own timing to bloom.  It was not going to look like a gorgeous poinsettia with red leaf-like flowers, or a Christmas cactus decked out in hot pink.  It would be a spectacular salmon pink and white amaryllis showing as a surprise gift on this first day of a new year in our journey with God.

Whether we are extroverts or introverts, orderly or spontaneous, intellectuals or worship best with our 5 senses or imagination, we can find exciting ways to relate to God.  Here are some ideas from Thomas:

–       Pray to God beside a river

–       Worship with the senses: incense, intricate architecture, classical music

–       Study historical writings of Christians in earlier centuries

–       Spend time at a silent retreat center with pastors and artists

–       Work for societal change

–       Love your neighbor in some practical way

–       Show enthusiasm for your journey with God

–       In stillness, listen to God’s voice

–       Engage in theological discussions