The World is not Ours


In the warmth of a mild late September, when autumn has just begun to show himself, plants in my garden that I thought had died down in preparation for the ending of the year have pushed forth delicate new flowers in a message of life and hope: in every ending there are new beginnings.

Despite having been hip-laden for weeks as they closed down, roses in particular are bringing fresh colour and beauty, and a poignancy as their richness contrasts with a backdrop of auburn leaves and bare branches. I spent some time yesterday sitting by one that is near the big pond, now brimming with water. It was perfumed, a little crumpled after a long summer but otherwise perfect, a stately flowerhead sitting proudly near a bud that I know will never unfurl itself. For this rose bush, the flower was the last expression of its blooming, and a promise of new beauty to come.

The World is not OursAs I looked at it, I remembered planting it two years ago, the gift of a kind friend, but it did not feel like mine. It exuded a sense of independence that called for respect, and some of the wildness that characterises the garden had entered an often very conventional, conservative plant. It was being itself: its grace and charm were not for me, but to provide food and shelter for wildlife in its petals and to prove once again that Earth is covered in beauty. It was expressing its joy in the glory of God.

To assert ownership of anything in the world is folly, because everything that exists is part of a great chain of planetary interconnectedness while being also in total freedom. Everything that is part of our life is a loan, a temporary gift or test that one day will be released, whether it is a child, a home or a rose. This is true particularly in regard to the Planet and all that is a part of her.

By claiming possession of a land or a dog, for example, immediately we are imposing a restriction on their ability to be themselves – a“this is mine” attitude rather than one of “this has come into my life and I will do my best for it.”. It is important to balance good stewardship with respect.

It is easy to forget that the world is not ours to do what we want with, but, rather, is a place that has offered us a home. It is time to return the hospitality. Will you think about it?



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