“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heart-breaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful”. – LR Knost

Meet “Eloise.” My daughter sent Eloise to my house several years ago because ‘she’ wasn’t thriving. (Kira thinks I have more of a ‘green thumb’ for house plants than she does, although I tell her that my plants flourish mostly on benign neglect.) Eloise had been doing quite well and has bloomed and been repotted several times. However, this winter I noticed that she was looking a bit peaked. Her lower leaves were less turgid and the lowest leaf, in particular, was looking very poorly. I figured I would repot her in the spring and try rejuvenating her root system per several YouTube videos I found on orchid management. I had not yet gotten to the point of accomplishing her renovation when I notice that Eloise was getting ready to bloom, so I decided to wait until she was done blooming before disturbing her.

I moved Eloise to my dining area table where I sit every morning to eat breakfast, read, and ponder. One morning last week as the rising sun was shining its early morning rays upon her, I noticed the radiant beauty of her brilliant cerise flowers, and how the sun’s rays revealed stunning, glowing shades of gold on her poor dying lower leaf. At the same time, the healthy green leaves in back served to create a spectacular collage of color that was so perfect. Ah, the wisdom of nature! As I let my mind settle and rest on this vision, I recognized that Eloise’s state is the same as mine.  

I turned my attention inward toward my roots, my spiritual roots that keep me grounded in this life. Do my roots need to be rejuvenated, maybe repotted and placed in new or more rich soil? Do my roots need to be pruned, removing any dying or dead parts, to allow new growth to sprout, to reach down deep and ground me even more securely in Ultimate Being? Are there aspects of my current spiritual grounding that need to be re-examined and discarded as no longer useful?

I turned my attention toward Eloise’s spectacular flower stalk. As an aging woman, I often feel that my ‘flowering’ time has long since passed…been there…done that. But there was Eloise, flowering beautifully despite her dying leaves and raggedy roots! I settled in for a moment to ponder. I am still alive. I am not dead yet. What is still needing to express itself through the delightful creativity that always stirs in my deepest self?  When I think of myself as a human being, where is astonishing beauty still flowering in me right at this moment?

I finally turned my attention toward Eloise’s yellowing, blackened, dying leaf in the midst of that circle of vibrant green leaves and magnificent flowers. This was a stark reminder that all things are impermanent. I, and everything I know and love, will die, yet even in and around that dying leaf was glowing beauty. 

Right there in front of my eyes Eloise was reminding me of the mystery of birth, growth, flowering, dying back, and rebirth. Eloise was holding all of it! The Pascal mystery according to Eloise! Wow!

Everything in existence constantly manifests the Pascal Mystery if we just stop and notice. The Pascal Mystery is more than what we celebrate during Holy Week and Easter, more than the cycle of seasonal changes each year, more than the seasons of our lives, more than the cycle of years, months, days, minutes, and seconds we experience. 

If we just take a few minutes each day to stop and notice, we see the truth that in each amazing moment, each awful moment, each mundane and routine moment there is dying, rejuvenating, flowering, rising, all at the same time! It’s all happening together all at the same time, all of the time, and it’s “breathtakingly beautiful!” Thanks, Eloise.

 – Rita Simon