When I was a young monk, here for only a short time, I noticed on my way to Vespers (evening prayer at 5:20) a plant set out on one of the benches that are scattered around our cloister garden. I was looking at it; it was not a very impressive looking specimen, at least in my estimation. Fr. Paul walked by who was in charge of our gardens. He was also a bonsai master and was one of the reasons that bonsai become so popular in the Southeast. So I asked Paul why the plant was there. He smiled and explained to me how this plant bloomed only once a year overnight and the bloom is dead by morning. So people who owned them have a party each year and people come over to watch it bloom and I guess die (how cheerful). So I was eager to see what the plant looked like. I imagined something very striking, beautiful that would really get my attention. So the next morning, on my way to vigils, I guess it was about 3:50 AM more or less. I got me a little flashlight to look upon this rare once in a year occurrence. I was really underwhelmed by the flower, it was big, kind of dull in color, yet people held parties to see it blossom, open up…and die.
Over the years I continued to think of this flowering event and it has made me realize that if something is rare, it is more precious than something that is not. Of course, this is known by all of us. An original Barbie Doll will go for thousands of dollars, why because there are so few of them. So something rare, or one of a kind, perhaps brings us to ‘mindfulness’, something that cannot be taken for granted, even if it is not that beautiful. We notice things that we seldom see. We become numb, unmindful of what is before us if it is always there. People can live in very beautiful homes, but after a while, they do not notice it. It is easy to take our loved ones, our friends for granted if we see them often.--Br.MD
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