By any other name...

I love this picture, and probably would have posted it here yesterday, but I didn't know the name for the plant. 

I know -- it's odd that that stopped me.  Clearly it's a relative from the pumpkin/squash family -- you can tell by the shape of the leaves, the stripes on the gourd, and those irresistible little curls.  But for some reason it wasn't enough to know that.  And now I'm wondering -- how often do I stop myself from pursuing a particular path because I can't name it, or because I have no prior experience of it? 

Though our island is accessible by land, the quickest way to get here is to take the ferry from Seattle -- and I'm always astonished at the number of people for whom that is a deal-breaker: they're just not familiar with how the ferry works, or how often it leaves, and that intimidates them. 

I understood that better, of course, when I found myself having to take one of the Canada ferries to Bowen Island for a retreat, and ended up in the wrong line; new things can be confusing.  And it took me three visits to Venice before I figured out the most practical way to get from the airport to Venice itself.

So I REALLY appreciate the amazing courage of my dear friend Linda, who managed to find her way all the way to my island from the Philippines!  It does seem to me that in each of these three cases -- Bowen Island, Venice, and the Philippines -- there was a promise at the end that somehow gave us the courage to push through the obstacles.  And, in each of these cases, the promise was that somehow the soul would be fed -- by time spent in silence with the wisdom of Cynthia Bourgeault, by time spent basking in the beauty that is Venice (those images STILL feed my soul), and by honoring a connection between two hungry souls.

... which is, now that I think of it, the same promise that ensures I will continue to devote 20 minutes each morning to quiet time/meditation/Centering Prayer -- whatever I choose to name it this week.  It's that promise that some of the soul's hunger -- for beauty, for silence, for wisdom, for connection -- will be fed.  And when that promise is there, I don't need to know in advance exactly how things are going to play out; don't have to come up with an exact name for the practice.  I can just step out in faith, and trust that what I need for the day will be there.  For that, and for ALL the things that feed my soul, even the beauty of this humble little plant, I am truly grateful.


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