Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
There is a clematis growing on either side of the arch leading to one of the seating areas in the garden. Each is in bud and indeed one has already started flowering with big deep purple flowers. Its companion will soon produce flowers of a dark chocolate colour. They have been in place for a few years now and so have strong roots. Since they flower on this year’s growth they can be cut right back at the end of their season. Now, one of the characteristics of the clematis is that it is an enthusiastic climber grasping hold of anything in its efforts to reach the sky. Thus it needs to be tied in to a strong support. These two use the arch for support but one of the other clematis plants in the garden scrambles through a nearby rose bush.
Now since from a Franciscan point of view Sister Rose and the vigorous young Clematis are part of God’s family in the same way that we are, it is not surprising to find we have the same characteristics, to some extent. There will be times when we need the support of a friend or neighbour as well as times when we can provide that support. Perhaps all a friend needs is an unexpected telephone call from you to cheer up her day. A quick “Thanks for your help” might make a shop assistant’s seemingly boring day more bearable. Maybe you can visit a friend even if it means listening to a story that you have heard a thousand times before. On the other hand perhaps you are young Clematis revising for your end of term exams and wishing you had paid more attention to lessons back in December. Don’t keep things to yourself, ask for help there is no shame in that.
Whichever role you are called to take today remember Jesus’ words: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20 KJV. What better place to be!
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years