Flowers are Everywhere

It has become a sort of rallying cry: “Flowers are everywhere!”

“There’s a dandelion growing in the sidewalk!”

“There’s a purple tulip!”

“There’s a white and orange one!”

Suddenly my son William is obsessed with flowers, pointing out every one he knows, and given that he’s grown up in a flower shop, he’s fairly adept for a four year old. And to chagrin of both his mom and dad the dandelions seem to delight him most. He can’t get enough of them, how they just grow everywhere.

He is, of course, missing his friends and family as we shelter at home. But he’s adaptable. He loves nature walks, talking about the birds and buds and special rocks and shells he’s seen. He takes his little toy binoculars. Sure, he whines and complains and cries and throws tantrums too. But so do I at this point.

It is, overall, an utterly terrible time, without any redeeming qualities. I find my mood matches the stock market, up one moment, crashing the next. Working, praying, meditating, running, none of the old tricks are quite enough to pierce the grim uncertainty and existential gloom.

But our little boy florist is teaching me, as he often does.

“I’m gonna focus on the good stuff,” he said today. I don’t know where he came from, but he’s right.

I can, for a limited time, choose to focus my attention on something good. I can enjoy the birdsong and the blooms. I can rejoice in holding my little boy George as he falls asleep. I can reach out to people I’ve lost touch with. I can choose to encourage and support my family and friends as we ride this awful rollercoaster together. I can write and be creative.

Often I lose sight of this choice. I just sort of flounder in the face of it all.

Georgie, Afternoon Nap

But the house smells of fresh baked bread. I have a fridge full of beer, and for the time being, the ability to buy food, pay the mortgage, and keep the power on. I can work from the safety of my home, depending on the goodness, self-sacrifice, and humbling heroism of healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, delivery people, and all the unnamed essential people who keep society running. I can, if the babies fall asleep, light my devotional candle and pray the Divine Office in the quiet of the sunset. And most challenging of all, I can hope in things unseen.

Pope Francis said today of hope: “Feeling hopeful does not mean to be optimistically naïve and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn’t lock itself into darkness, that doesn’t dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow. Hope is the door that opens onto the future. Hope is a humble, hidden seed of life that, with time, will develop into a large tree. It is like some invisible yeast that allows the whole dough to grow, that brings flavor to all aspects of life. And it can do so much, because a tiny flicker of light that feeds on hope is enough to shatter the shield of darkness. A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you. And then there will be another “you,” and another “you,” and it turns into an “us.” And so, does hope begin when we have an “us?” No. Hope began with one “you.” When there is an “us,” there begins a revolution.”

Tomorrow, little William Francis will wake early. He’ll watch cartoons. He’ll marvel that his dad is home from work yet again. He’ll play games, and go exploring. He’ll cry and get upset when he doesn’t get his way. And through it all, he’ll point out all the flowers he sees.

They’re everywhere, you know.

William Francis and his special shell

“Hope is the door that opens onto the future. Hope is a humble, hidden seed of life that, with time, will develop into a large tree… A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you. And then there will be another “you,” and another “you,” and it turns into an “us.” And so, does hope begin when we have an “us?” No. Hope began with one “you.”

Pope Francis, Message for March 27, 2020

3 thoughts on “Flowers are Everywhere

  1. Michael John thank you for the words of hope at a time when they seem very elusive. The pictures of the boys (can there BE a sweeter shot of innocence than little Georgie blissfully sleeping?) are balm to the soul. It just brings home to us the importance of making it through this trial and coming out on the other side stronger and more committed to making this world a safer, kinder place for the next generation. I don’t know that I will ever again take for granted the simple act of sitting with a friend, or being able to touch, kiss or embrace a loved one or have my little grand baby run into my arms! Never has the phrase “you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone” been more relevant. Sending love to your darling family and that new little one who is still to make it’s entrance into this world. Love, Aunt Janey

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful article Michael and Janey’s comment was pretty neat–sitting at home as Sally went in to work this morning-her manager on duty Saturday.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Michael – Such a beautiful writing! It is a gift to anyone who reads it! From lil George to the Pope – you touched our hearts with what is really important right now for all of us. I wish I had a Willie around to view the world from his eyes – he was fittingly named William FRANCIS! Until I can walk around the block with him again I will look twice at how God’s creation is blooming and say Willie would love this one! And may I add Michael – your mama is proud of you!

    Like

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