Yesterday, An Open Book posted the first in a series of micro essays by participants in Inprint’s nonfiction workshop led by poet Cait Weiss Orcutt. She says, “Each piece serves as a proof of our city’s resilience—you can give us rain, wind, uncertainty and days of isolation, but as soon as we can find a pen, we will turn that into art.” For her full introduction and the first essay in this series, click this link.
“Overwhelming Oddity” by Phyllis Robinson
“The Teacher Jesus said, ‘The man who hears what I teach but does not do it is like a man who builds his house on dirt. The dirt is soft, and when the rain comes and the wind blows, the house falls down and all his work is lost.’” –Kate McCord
Sometimes, rain offers lovely, vibrantly fresh surprises like the blooming of grandma’s Oxblood Lilies handed down to me by my mother. They grew outside my grandmother’s favorite sitting spot where she could always enjoy the bounty nature offered. The crimson hue closely resembled the red cardinals that fascinated her as she gazed outside from her perch through the bubble-flicked glass panes of the white frame house my great-grandparents had once called home. The cardinals visited frequently pecking at will and flocking to cover the spread beneath the billowy boughs of ripened fruit-filled cascades overwhelming the branches of her favorite pear tree.
What a grandmother loves are the things that a child can cherish and hold dear. Even years later, vivid, fond memories, stories of familial generations past, are regenerated when these delicate and poised petals bloom. They nourish an unequivocal restorative calm, the humming pulse after the storm.
Yet, the turbulent and difficult times of life are the storms that often overwhelm me when the predominant focus is chaos and not hopeful outcome. Free will offers me choice: be grateful or not. Choice reflects the demeanor of individuals during and after the great storms of life, whether they be natural disasters or a circumstantial demise. Odd, isn’t it, the variable affects? Yet, oddity is the difference found in individual countenance, a value of heart, a primordial pulse as unique as the symbiotic crimson petal.
Understanding becomes an opportunity to bind diverse emotional bridges during trial and loss. If my anger gives rise to bitterness then my joy gives rise to contentment. Gratitude is antipodal to resentment although diverse attitudes may bear witness to the same storm.
My perspective will only narrow if not breached beyond the cylindrical confines of my personal orb. Only the transcendental depths of introspection can reveal my soul. Storms trouble humankind. My fierceness in their midst offers sustenance for starving fear and extinguishing anxiety. My management, my perseverance, therefore, is ordered by design. The God of the universe rightly plans man’s mission. Our hands and feet, our heart and tongue, our humbled doubt and trust will hone our collective lot. So too, will it mine.
Forthwith, I thrust forward as do the lilies that forcibly push through dirt seeking warmth and light after a late summer storm. Illumination, like the calm eye of the hurricane, brings purpose and peace. Selfless focus bridges gaps paralleled by overwhelming odds. The granting of kindness and compassion, priceless commodities, snuff the snarl of bitter root. In generations past, after all the storms that raged, the Oxblood Lily bloomed. And still, it blooms.