little bit of lagniappe

reflecting on everyday grace

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.


Camas Lilies

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.


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4 thoughts on “Consider the…Camas Lilies

  1. Sally on said:

    Hey: I read this last night and wanted to respond then, but needed to retread and meditate a bit. Why do certain of us humans feel so much more than others? Do we even know what others feel, or are we inserting our own insecurities into the picture and reacting? Why are some petty and others full of grace? Why do we feel inadequate when we are doing our jobs (living, working, living, loving) to the best of our ability? Or will we always question are we doing our best? This poem encourages me, and I hope you too, to just step back and breathe. We can make differences in our lives ands the lives of others only when we are taking care of ourselves enough to have the physical and spiritual strength our individual systems need. Not everyone can be Mother Theresa, but we can be Marys. You, my precious friend, are blessed and cursed by an extreme awareness of what is or should be good and right about God’s creations. That awareness is what makes you you! With your gifts, insights, experiences and discerning mind, you are well equipped to follow whatever path your soul is seeking. Be strong, keep loving all and forgiving all, and most importantly….be you! You area joyous gift to all who love you. Hugs, Sally

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Hey Cart!

    Thanks for sharing the reflection and the beautiful poem.  I loved them both and needed to hear them today.  Taking time to rest and be is really difficult, yet so needed.

    Love you,


  3. acallison1 on said:

    mornin friend!

    methinks i failed to mention how much i loved this post of yours.

    i adore the poem (as you already know) but love your words just as much. Being “needy for reminders”….yes, that is me. All those questions of worthiness have plagued me this week – And this post is such a beautiful reminder of our true place. i love it so, so much. thank you for writing it, and for sharing it. I have returned to your words often (esp during exam week….a time when I always find myself “needy for reminders”) and found such comfort in them.


    I know this may be a stretch, but I wanted to see if you might like to join me at trinity’s worship and prayer night on wednesday of this week. I haven’t been in ages, but I felt a little nudge from the Lord on Sunday that I should try to get there. would love to have you there with me if you think you can swing it.

    love and miss you friend.

    let me know about wednesday.

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