Orchids, to my mind, shout out the words: "rare beauty." But in fact, there are over 20,000 species of orchids all over the world. They are commonplace, like mornings and mourning doves, like acne and aching. But they are still beautiful.
The Beautiful Commonplace.
Rarity has nothing to do with it. So how come I am always surprised when faced with the beautiful? I confess, I am afraid. Afraid it will not last.
I fear. Abandonment.
I am afraid to be left behind ... again. Intentionally and unintentionally, it has happened. People disappoint, let you down, leave. It feels like the world is full of 50-50s. There's a chance you might be happy, if the stars align in your favor, but then again, you might not be.
This life of fear has a dual nature. On the one hand, when a hint of happiness springs from nothing, I act impulsively, casting caution to the wind, because this happiness doesn't have much of a chance at long-lasting. On the other hand and at the same time, I hide away my soul in a casket of self-protection, clutching the violets of my fears - a pre-death arrangement.
And then the world collides. A wife dies, too young. A child lives most days in a frozen-hearted hospital. The money runs out, and keeps running out. A country goes to war. A marriage collapses. A car breaks down. Heartbreak is commonplace. There are other people with eyes-closed fear. We, together, are each alone.
How do we escape this "labyrinth of suffering"? How do we lose our pity-focus on self? How do we find the beautiful, how do we appreciate it in spite of ourselves?
Then I remember: we are not the only ones abandoned, the only ones alive in the midst of death. Jesus on the cross. Abandoned by His closest friends. Abandoned by His own Father. Crying out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
And yet, He was not alone, not forsaken, forever. He is risen. In communion with the Father, in communion with us. Our own abandonment by this world brings us closer to Him, makes us more alike. We have nothing to fear when He has conquered this death, and He will never abandon us.
I abandon. Fear.
I hold. The Beautiful Commonplace.