This blog is a space in which to address - and hopefully find connections between – the four main things that inform my life and worldview: parenting/family, teaching ESL/immigrants, poetry/writing, and prayer/faith. I want this to be a blog that balances the practical and the philosophical, the earthly and the spiritual, the didactic and the creative, the commonplace and the extraordinary.
The title of this blog comes from one of my favorite books of poetry called The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck. This book examines the relationships between humans, God, and nature. At times the human speaks to the plants of her garden or the flowers of the field; at others she reaches for God in her time of suffering. At times God seems distant; at others, powerful and Fatherly. I appreciate the fact that the book embraces doubt and questioning when it comes to faith. I strongly believe that God is big enough to handle our doubt and disbelief, especially during times of suffering. In the book sometimes the flowers and plants themselves speak, teaching the human about the power of new life and pointing out the human penchant for self-centeredness and failure to find God in His creations.
The following poem shows an example of this. In the poem field flowers address the human.
What are you saying? That you want
eternal life? Are your thoughts really
as compelling as all that? Certainly
you don’t look at us, don’t listen to us,
on your skin
stain of sun, dust
of yellow buttercups: I’m talking
to you, you staring through
bars of high grass shaking
your little rattle – O
the soul! the soul! Is it enough
only to look inward? Contempt
for humanity is one thing, but why
disdain the expansive
field, your gaze rising over the clear heads
of the wild buttercups into what? Your poor
idea of heaven: absence
of change. Better than earth? How
would you know, who are neither
here nor there, standing in our midst?
This poem reminds me of the passage in Matthew 6:25-30:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
Lastly, the iris is one of my favorite flowers. I consider it the American version of the Thai orchid of my childhood home. The iris is the state flower of Tennessee, where I now live.