By Teresa Thomas
My heart sings that it is finally spring! As you know, winters in northern Indiana can be grey, cold and long, not to mention snowy and — let’s be honest — somewhat depressing. That’s why when May comes along it’s a particularly hopeful and beautiful time.
I was on the campus of Saint Mary’s College last week. It was a rainy, chilly day, but the grounds were lush green and bursting with beautiful blossoms. Most blossoms were from ordinary trees and bushes, and an occasional simple flower growing in the path. It reminded me of St. Therese’s words:
“…all the flowers He has created are lovely. The splendour of the rose and whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm.
I realized that if every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness and there would be no wild flowers to make the meadows gay.
It is just the same in the world of souls — which is the garden of Jesus. He has created the great saints who are like the lilies and the roses, but He has also created much lesser saints and they must be content to be the daisies or the violets which rejoice His eyes whenever He glances down. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being that which He wants us to be.” from “The Story of a Soul” —New York: Double Day, 2001
What a beautiful thought! Wouldn’t it be silly for a rose to ‘try’ to be a daisy or a sunflower to “try” to shrink and become a lily of the valley? All flowers are beautiful and each has a special way of enhancing the landscape. The wildflowers at the edge of the road lift the spirits as much as a carefully cultivated rose bush.
Have you ever seen a little weed flower growing in between the cracks of the sidewalk or at the side of a walkway or even near a garbage can and thought, even for a moment, ‘how lovely’ or even ‘how persistent?’ These little bursts of fragrance and color can lift the spirits and are evidence of a loving Father. How bland our world would be without these sweet gifts!
We each have a special mission in the world, some lofty for the world to see, and others more small and hidden. All our work is important to do, no matter what God has given to us, and each of us can enhance the landscape in our own way, according to His will. We can have peace in knowing that our holiness consists in seeking God’s will for our individual lives and then working to fulfill that. Small things done with great love will do the trick. What joy in knowing this!
When you throw a pebble in a pond it causes ripples. The pebbles are the acts in our lives. We can have ripples for good or ripples for evil. This is our choice.
The ripples come from small things, like paying for the coffee for the car behind you in the Starbucks line, or telling someone when she looks pretty, encouraging someone who feels down, or smiling at the grocery clerk or man behind you in the line. The ripples come from medium things, like writing a long note to a grieving family who has just lost someone they love, or making dinner for a new mother. The ripples come from big things too, like becoming a foster parent, or volunteering long term at the pro-life center, or faithfully praying the Rosary every day of your life.
I was at a dinner last night hosted by the Sister who teaches the “Dignity and Vocation of Women” class for senior girls at the high school. The event was for Sister’s students and their mothers or mother figures, and included not only great inspirational talks but some games as well. One of the games was passing around a ruler and having everyone measure each other’s smiles. The widest smiles won a prize. It was silly, ridiculous, and incredibly laughter-filled and fun. Imagine that. Joy being valued. How awesome!
I want to be known for my joy. I want to be known for spreading hope. I want to be known for making good ripples from the actions I do, whether big or medium or small. A fruit of the Holy Spirit is joy. Let us grow in faith, yes, but let us grow in joy. Let us show the world little ‘springtimes’ in our actions and words, and offer, even in little corners seemingly unseen, hope.
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