Sabbatical Post #4: Catching Flowers in the Wind

On my first day on the sacred pilgrimage site on the isle of Iona, I was captivated by purple irises with fine, variegated petals—a variety I do not remember seeing in the United States. For some reason, on this sabbatical, I have found myself taking close-up pictures of flowers, both wild ones and cultivated ones in botanical gardens.

Irises, St. Columba Hotel, isle of Iona, Scotland, United Kingdom

A fellow pilgrim told me earlier today that some famous photographer said we do not “take” photos; we wait until they are given to us. That is exactly what happened to me today; I had to wait patiently until the iris was ready to flash her brightest self to me, and then to be grateful for that gift. I bent over, my iPhone fixed upon the bloom, bowing to its beauty.

I think this is how most of us experience sightings of God, too. We strive for them; we go on retreats and pilgrimages to “thin places” to have a deeper experience with God. I think we imagine a long audience with the dispensing of wisdom and peace. I suspect, even in this famous thin place of Iona, that we get minute glances of God when the wind of the Spirit is just right and shows us a flash of divine brilliance. We get minute glances when we bow toward God, ready to see and hear and feel.

And that is enough. For now.

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