“These flowers are not from the hot house.” said Miss Marianne of Willoughby’s gift of wildflowers.
“Ahh, I see that my offering is not as grand as the one you already have. I’m afraid I obtained these from an obliging field.”
“Beaming with delight, Marianne replies, “I have always preferred wild flowers.”
Sense and Sensibility
Ever think you were meant for a different century? Being a Jane Austen fan, I say… “Yes, yes, a thousand times YES!” Minus all that spinster talk and women not being able to have a profession or inherit the family fortune, I would love to jump into an Austen novel. She knows how to bring us in with her dynamic and quirky characters, the poetic English language, and breathtaking landscapes. She sweeps us up and into a world of Saturday afternoon picnics on your front lawn, reed gathering for basket weaving, spying on siblings from tree houses, chasing the sunshine and, my personal favorite, picking wildflowers.
What intrigues us about all of this? Why do I have a thirst for a time without a laptop computer and a smart phone? Could it be the raw beauty and simplicity of the picture Austen is painting? Even though most of her characters and their predicaments are anything but simple, something about it all makes me want to move to the English country side, start buying up sheep and write a thesis on why wildflowers are indeed, the superior choice in floral arrangements.
Snapping back into reality; it’s spring here in the Nation’s Capital. Native wildflowers are dotting our non-English landscape with their little hopeful spring-forward faces. My Mom and I are indulging ourselves with fresh bouquets of spring beauties, violets, and buttercup related species. We like to put them in little bud vases to cheer up our homes after winters chill. Recently, I was in a hurry and popped my two little bouquets into their vases and went on with my day. When I came back, one vase was completely wilted while the other one was perfectly beautiful. “Oh, no! I didn’t put water in that vase.” While I have had worse problems in life, I felt guilty. Sort of like Charlie Brown when he brought back the Christmas tree and, it too, wilted. “I killed it!” After administering water and CPR, I waited. Sure enough, their thirst was quenched by the one thing necessary for their survival…water.
We all know that water is crucial for our survival as well; making up anywhere from 55% to 65% of our bodies. Without it, we will die. If we follow health guidelines, we are supposed to be drinking (8) eight-ounce glasses per day. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Sometimes when you feel hungry, the truth is you are really just thirsty. Paying attention to our physical thirst is very much like paying attention to our spiritual thirst. Our spiritual well can run dry when too often distracted by, as Austen would say, diversions.
There is not a day that goes by when I am not thirsty for God’s wisdom on any given subject in my life. Somedays insights flow like waterfalls; while others, radical dehydration. (Note: The parched days tend to be when I am not centered in prayer or scripture.) Are you thirsty to know God? Good news…He is all around you!
In one of Jane Austen’s surviving prayers, she writes. “Thou art everywhere present, from thee no secret can be hidden. May the knowledge of this, teach us to fix our thoughts on thee, with reverence and devotion that we pray not in vain.”
Jesus says in Matthew 6, “Consider the lilies of the field. See how they grow. They do not labor or spin. How much more will God take care of you?”
Hold onto that this week as you tend to your spiritual well. Now go pick some wildflowers.
“And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35
“The key to Christian living is a thirst and hunger for God. And one of the main reasons people do not understand or experience the sovereignty of grace and the way it works through the awakening of joy is that their hunger and thirst for God is so small.” John Piper