Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Of Sonnet Crowns, Butterfly Gardens, and Discernment

This has been a tiring week--and it's only Wednesday.  We've had a church house meeting at our house, the last part of week 1 of our Summer quarter at work, and I've got caught up on my grading: no wonder I'm tired.

Let me collect some observations before I lose them:

--On Monday, as I drove to work, I thought about the sonnet I had written on Friday, and this thought flitted through my brain:  I wonder if I could write a crown of sonnets.  I wrote a second sonnet, and then went on to write a third and a fourth.  Yesterday I got a head start on the fifth.

--I've realized that I can rhyme Holocaust with Pentecost. My crown of sonnets may be headed in an unusual direction.  I have yet to use that rhyme, but seeds have been planted.

--Speaking of seeds, the butterfly garden continues to enchant.  On Monday, I realized that one of the bushes had caterpillars.  And then I realized how much of the milkweed bush they had eaten:

--More than once this week, I've thought of the book The Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar.  And more than once, I've wondered if I'm remembering it correctly.

--Yesterday, I got three more plants that my pastor picked up for me.  He said that it can take 2 or more weeks for the milkweed to spring back from the relentless munching.

--The fact that  the bush can survive and come back seems like a good metaphor if I could avoid the potential pitfall of triteness and cliche.

--I put the new plants close to the munched plant and wondered if the caterpillars would find it.  I didn't need to worry.

--Update:  I got to campus, and the caterpillars had stripped the 3 new plants completely overnight.  I went to the nursery to get some more milkweed plants.  I always said I didn't want pets because I couldn't keep house plants alive.  Now I have caterpillar pets AND houseplants.  Wish me luck!

--I've been happily surprised with how interested some of the students are in this butterfly garden project.  They've asked me about the names of plants and about the life cycles of butterflies.  Like me, they've been amazed at the quantity of the caterpillars and their coloring.

--Tuesday night, I had a phone appointment the woman in the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the ELCA who is in charge of candidacy committees.  For those of you in different religious groups who wonder what a candidacy committee is, in the ELCA, a candidacy committee is the way the larger church both vets candidates for ministry and supports them.  It's also a way that the Synod helps those in a period of discernment.

-- I like the phrase, "I'm in a time of discernment." It sounds much better than, "The future confounds me" or "I'm flailing in no particular direction."

--It was a good conversation, although I didn't have an earthshattering epiphany.  I didn't really expect to have an earthshattering epiphany.  While I know many people who have the Saul on the road to Tarsus type of epiphany, I know many more who spend much of their lives wondering if they've heard God at all.

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