This week the Universe has, in its winsome way, leaned over my shoulder once again to rearrange my priorities. It’s easy to feel dismayed and righteously put upon when the Universe pulls such stunts, but when I remember to take a step back it occurs to me that the Universe knows what it’s doing, and that there is much more going on in the grander scheme of things than what I may have had in mind.
Assuming there is a grander scheme of things. Who knows?
I sure don’t claim to know. What I can say, with conviction borne of experience, is that when life decides to come and slap you upside the head — jolting you out of your habitual preoccupations by handing you an accident or a troubling diagnosis or some news you really do not want to hear — it can save your bacon to go with the assumption that somewhere, somehow, some way, all of this does indeed add up, make sense, have meaning. That there is a grander scheme and you’re part of it, so much a part of it that you can’t see it, any more than a thread can perceive the tapestry to which its existence contributes.
Many years ago, I was a passenger in a car stuck in traffic on a freeway somewhere between Riverside and Chino, a region of Southern California not exactly known for its scenery. Bored, I stared dully at the display in front of a roadside nursery. On a sloping berm, marigolds had been planted in such a way that they spelled out the nursery’s name in bright yellow blooms. The car was moving slowly enough to give me ample time to both read the marigolds’ message and look at the flowers themselves in their individual clumps, some thriving, some straggly. I had a wee epiphany, one that has stayed with me ever since. Something about seeing those individual marigold plants, each of them struggling to make it out there on that sun-scorched berm by the side of a freeway, their roots searching for water and minerals, their leaves and blossoms seeking sunlight and oxygen, each little clump no doubt very taken up with the business of being a marigold plant. And yet none of them were in a position to see that the whole reason they were planted where they were was to say something, to be part of a communication, one of whose nature they, as marigolds, could not possibly conceive, but to which they were absolutely necessary.
So, maybe we all don’t get to be glistening threads in a glorious tapestry. Maybe some of us are low-growing little flowers in a sign by a freeway. But it makes sense to me on a deep level, humbling and comforting sense, that there is indeed a grand scheme. We may never know what exactly it is we’re part of, but we’re part of something. And it may possibly be something wondrous.
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