On Renewal

by Rev. Aaron Payson

This month’s Soul Matters Theme is “renewal”; an appropriate topic, I think, as we head into the summer season. The packet for the month contains a link to a story on “The Daffodil Principle”  by Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards, which includes the following bit of insight.

“For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time–often just one baby-step at a time–and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small elements of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.”

The week after our annual meeting, and well into gardening season, as I watch many volunteer their time to continue to advance our Native Plant Initiative, come to mind for me as I read this wonderful modern parable.  It seems to me that the question behind all that we do is how we aim to inspire people to take on the challenges of a changing world by reflecting the deepest values we share with those in our community.  Our gardens are symbolic of such values.  Our building and the symbols that hang on and within it reflect those values.  The way we treat each other does the same.  

Though there are many questions to be answered about the future, and what communities like ours will look like in years to come, I am confident that we are a community of inspiration reflecting the love, hope, and justice we yearn to experience and work so that others do as well.

Moreover, I appreciate that the author of the parable above casts the lesson of the daffodils as one of the “principles of celebration” which she defines as “learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time–often just one baby-step at a time–and learning to love the doing.”

My hope for you this summer as you sojourn near and far is moments like the one in the parable referenced; moments of inspiration where you discover not only the principles of your own vitality but the courage and energy to continue the journey toward wholeness and the wholeness of this community that claims you as a co-journeyer.   

Perhaps we too are and are becoming a place where people will “never forgive themselves if they miss this experience.”