One of the promises I have made to myself to sustain places of harmony within is to have fresh cut flowers illuminate the space that surrounds me. I am quite sensitive to my immediate surroundings, and often times a simple gesture of care toward my environment will change how I perceive my world: within and without.
I often feel called to photograph flowers. I find them full to the brim with ecstasy, exuding carousels of joy. Dizzy with delight, fragrant odors that baffle the body, and sustainable, beautiful silence that breathes into the deepest of places even into their withering death. How often have we preserved the grace of dried flowers?
Most recently, while working on a bouquet for the kitchen, I was compelled once again to pick up my camera and spend some time with the burgeoning peonies that had just popped into bloom! The white, velvet grace of early summer petals, dashed with crimson veins eludes to the passion that these beauties hold. The wisdom and tantric song of the lush and sensuous pink and statuesque, is quick to convince me that she carries an earthy Om within her blossoming pleats.
Oh what mystery lies there channeling something sympathetic, something erotic, something yet unheard. With her ear bent to the solace of the afternoon, she speaks. I’m drawn into the curious nature of her unpaintable, lingering lament and feel quite compelled to listen a bit more closely. ‘”If you had a name, what would it be?” I dare ask. The divine whisper does not escape me: Mercy. The tenderness of the reply causes me to pause, with an unpretentious moment of reflection.
Thoughts of what mercy is have drifted gently to the surface these days, as a result of an almost year long, quazi-successful relationship with the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius. Why was I so compelled by the grace of this one flower to speak so hush-like to the tender escape of mercy?
Was it the gentle nudge of its fresh aroma? Was it the delicate twist of its dance? Beyond all of the tender reasons that speak to me, the simplest and most humble of them all comes in the form of having been granted a graceful privilege: witness to beauty. One moment, one glimpse, one aura of unbounding light – and then it is gone – never to return in the same way; ever. For reasons unbeknownst to me in this moment, this reminds me of mercy.
I wonder about the connection between beauty and mercy; for indeed there is something intrinsically divine when one has been spared, when life has offered up a spot at the table of forgiveness. It is difficult to give way to the constraints that we have imposed upon ourselves. Sometimes mercy has a way of showing us how to let go with grace, and permits us to forge our way into new beginnings ~ with tenderness and wisdom.
Worthiness also comes to mind when I think of mercy. And gratitude. And risk taking. And feeling vulnerable. And perhaps above all else ~ intimacy. I feel transformed when confronted with merciful moments. How could it be any other way? Mercy ladens me with humility, as there is new revelation into the invited transparency that awaits at its door. And so it is when I spend time with this image, this ‘sister named Mercy.’
If any of you are so inclined and would like to share your thoughts, feel free to accept this open invitation to expound upon this delightful, and beauty-filled topic. And may the mercy of the day find you, keep you…and illuminate for you a peaceful and beautiful aspect of who you are. Enjoy!