“Come! I got something to show you.”
My neighbor A, right next door, who is quickly becoming my best friend eagerly invited me over. With a short walk through the gate that we recently installed in between the fence that divides our properties, I am instantly on her side where a wide open view of the pasture and the beautiful flower gardens transplant me to the immediate sanctuary. I love visiting her land. She has been living here for over a decade, tirelessly worked in her yard during her free time. Now that she is out of her job, she devotes most of her time outside working in her garden. Her property resembles so much of the Virginia monastery that I so wanted to join once. I told A that I think of her as my mother superior, my abbess. She chuckled and said that she prefers to be referred as a royal highness of her naughtiness. Oh yes, she does give you the air of the mean old nun sometimes. Leah used to come back home in tears because she was quite too young to get her sarcastic jokes. Now I get it, too. And I just love that she lives next door to me.
Our conversations may not reach the spiritual heights, but we do have nice and pleasant conversations on our most-daily encounters. Lately, we’ve been talking A LOT about flowers. Yesterday, she invited me over to show me the most cutest and tiniest flower that also has the most wonderful fragrance. I fell in love with it instantly. It was a love at first sight. She picked a few stems and handed me those white humble flowers. “These are called ‘lily of the valley’!” She informed me. And I fell in love with this flower even more.
Lily holds such a strong meaning to me. It’s where the name of this blog stems from. I have a special story to it (Here is a post that explains! Lilyboat ). But lily of the valley? I’ve heard of lilies of the field (from the Bible) but not of the valley. I’ve heard of shadows of the valley (from the Bible) but not lilies of the valley. And this hit the right cord.
Lately, I’ve been feeling like I was crawling through the shadowy valley. Everything in my view looked so dark, deep, and dangerous. I love the view of the open pasture and open field. Just like A, my neighbor abbess’s close-to-monastery property. I love to gaze down from the top of the mountain and enjoy the open view of the peaceful scenery. But the valley? With high speed current of rushing water running mercilessly through the dark narrow path formed by the crooked design of the nature? I’ve heard of enough kayakers that drowned attempting to raft through that water. It’s not safe.
But even there, life sustains. I don’t know if the name “lily of the valley” actually came from the fact that these lilies grow by the valley and I know I could easily run my google search and find out the answer. But I refuse to. I like to think that is exactly how this flower was named “lily of the valley”. I put a few stems of the lilies from my neighbor in my small vase. I move it around throughout the day. If I am sitting on on my dining table, there it is, my lilies of the valley. If I am sitting outside on my deck, there it is on my patio table, my lilies of the valley. Then, surprisingly, I get a good news. A, my abbess, came over to my house and with a brief walk through my yard with her laser sharp eyes that can distinguish any flowers and found it. It turns out I have my own lily of the valley right in my front yard.
This morning as I sit on my deck, dark thoughts started to creep up on me. It was doing its quick descend into my heart field creating a dark shadowy valley. I quickly get up and walk to my front yard. Once it was a flower bed. Years of abandonment have disguised this beautiful garden that produced ornament plants, daffodils and lilies of the valley. With the help of my neighbor Abbess, I have found this treasure. I continue my weeding project that I have left unfinished yesterday. With each weed gone, the lily of the valley really stands out. I discover that I have more than ten bulbs of lilies. This is a treasure hunt. This is so revealing. This is so healing. And I am hoping. Once again.