I was watering the trees in the lawn around the Cathedral one day last week.
I noticed a young woman come towards a very beautiful bright red hibiscus on a young bush. I got quite suspicious thinking that she was going to pick the flower.
I was wrong, she just came and appreciated its beauty! It was a beautiful thing to witness.
Two things ran through my mind simultaneously.
What a beautiful thing for her to do. I was reminded of the need to stop and smell the flowers.
How grounding it is to be down to earth and to stay in touch with nature. A simple and good antidote to useless worry and anxiety. A good wake-up call and reminder to be grateful for the blessings in our life.
I was also embarrassed by my rash judgment of the young lady. I catch myself reacting quickly sometimes.
Quick reactions are not bad in themselves.
They can save our life sometimes. It is very good to react quickly and get out of the way of a car I had not previously seen as I am crossing the road! There are many other examples of quick reactions being helpful.
However, habitual reactions can also be unhelpful. We pick up good and bad habits from our life experiences. The more we observe our behaviour, and the more reflective we are the more we can act out of decisions instead of just instincts and programming.
Many years ago I remember surprising myself by being very angry with my dog for doing something wrong. I think that he had ‘trespassed’ into my vegetable garden.
I was shouting and got very angry. Suddenly the penny dropped. When I was a young boy, my dear and loving father suffered from a life-threatening disfunction of the thyroid gland. This was about 65 years ago! Before they treated him, he went through a time when he would lose his temper just like I did with that dog! The poor man was not well, and once treated this stopped.
As a child I had unconsciously stored that memory. I, of course, did not react like that with the young lady, and the internal flare up was momentary and only internal.
I think that we can all fall into the trap of judging each other’s actions.
There is a time to reflect, there is a time to just be in harmony with life and let life speak to us.
I think that young lady was letting life speak to her as she connected with that delightful flower.