Consider the…Camas Lilies
I am so needy for reminders. This week. Today. Everyday.
A few weeks ago, Parker J. Palmer wrote a simple yet captivating piece on Krista Tippett’s On Being blog, and it still resonates with me. So often, I get caught up in performance. Achievement. Questions of worthiness. Am I useful? Am I doing my job well? Am I living well? Am I enough?
These questions seem especially important (or unimportant) as we enter Holy Week in the Christian tradition, which centers not on our worth but on the beautiful work of God’s love – that which stretches out wide enough to house both death and resurrection.
Hampered by these exhausting questions, I feel starved for Easter, which calls us to lay those burdens down, to consider the lilies of the field, and to let go and be held by the only sure thing in this life: LOVE.
This poem “Camas Lilies” by Lynn Ungar, which Palmer highlights, gives that glimpse of grace – that reminder of love. It’s coming. It’s here. It’s now.
Thanks be to God.
by Lynn Ungar
Consider the lilies of the field,
the blue banks of camas opening
into acres of sky along the road.
Would the longing to lie down
and be washed by that beauty
abate if you knew their usefulness,
how the native ground their bulbs
for flour, how the settlers’ hogs
uprooted them, grunting in gleeful
oblivion as the flowers fell?
And you—what of your rushed
and useful life? Imagine setting it all down—
papers, plans, appointments, everything—
leaving only a note: “Gone
to the fields to be lovely. Be back
when I’m through blooming.”
Even now, unneeded and uneaten,
the camas lilies gaze out above the grass
from their tender blue eyes.
Even in sleep your life will shine.
Make no mistake. Of course
your work will always matter.
Yet Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.