The divine compulsion

For the first two years we lived on the Sandspit there were masses of bright california poppies on the little hillside leading down to the boardwalk, but for the last several years they've not been showing up.

This year they're back, though not necessarily in the same places or in the same bright profusion; this charming patch has perched itself on a neighbor's septic system.

It's yet another reminder that things tend to go in cycles, and that just because some facet of our lives has faded, that doesn't mean it won't return again.

I'm thinking that we who are mortal assume without really even thinking about it that things once dead are gone forever.  And this despite all the evidence to the contrary: days, seasons, politics, faith, love, even health -- so many things go dark and then return to light again.  Not always in the same shape or guise, but much of life, like the cells in our bodies, is constantly being reborn.

As I said to one of my daughters earlier this week -- one door slams, and another door opens.  Yes, it's trite -- and it doesn't mean we don't mourn for the doors that close.  But it seems to me that with age and perspective we cannot help but come to understand there will always be new doors opening.  And I believe the reason for that is that we are always growing and becoming; that there is a sort of divine compulsion to become more fully what we were born to be, and that whatever happens -- whether loss or opportunity -- is a way of bringing us closer to divine fruition, to becoming a more perfect expression of the divine idea that led to our creation.

John O'Donohue says, "Creation is always in the heave of growth and becoming, and when a thing journeys towards its own perfection or fullness of life, it is also secretly journeying towards the divine likeness.  The integrity of beauty is that inner straining towards goodness and completion.  There is a wonderful urgency within things to realize the dream of their individual fulfillment; nothing is neutral, everything is on its way."

Yes, of course, there are limits to growth.  But perhaps those limits are only to human concepts of growth?  Maybe the only end to divine growth is perfection, and that perfection is somehow intimately connected with balance -- so there is some sort of automatic cutoff that ensures things will never get too far out of balance?

I don't know.  But it's a fun thing to think about on a Sunday afternoon...

NOTE: This John O'Donohue quotation is from his book, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace (© John O’Donohue. All rights reserved). To learn more about John O'Donohue, be sure to visit his website:


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