The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder

November 18, 2009

Last week I finished a book called The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells.  This book recommendation came from my friend, Stacy, who has continually put amazing books in my hands for 21 years. 

There is a part in the story when Calla Lily is talking to her friend Ricky.  Calla Lily has just experienced a great loss in her life (I will not divulge what it is!), and she has been grieving and depressed over her loss for a year at this point, until one morning she has breakfast with Ricky and the following occurs: 

Calla Lily to Ricky, “I’m starting to feel different.  I’m starting to see the trees again.  I heard a bird this morning.  Something’s widening in me.” 

            “Good, good,” he said, smiling.  “It’s been a while now.”

“I don’t want to rush it,” I said.  “I don’t want to rush my mourning.  It’s mine.  Maybe if I take enough time, my heart will just get bigger- big enough to take all this.  You know what I mean?”

This passage struck me when I read it, and I have not been able to get it out of my head all week.  Seventeen months ago, I moved from my hometown of 28 years to a new city.  It has been quite a year of transition.  There were so many little “losses” to experience, and I grieved the loss of familiarity in terms of family, friends, Louisiana culture, and knowledge of a city, and on and on.

Suddenly though, I began to “feel different”.  I began to accept where I lived.  I began to enjoy and experience the new city I.  I began to “see the trees again”, and “something widened in me”.  I realized that my heart was big enough for both places—my home and roots of 28 years, and all the people and places and experiences I loved back home, and also this new, amazing city that is full of warm and interesting people, incredible food, and a totally different culture that combines college city with a country feel!

I feel so many family and friends I know right now are also in big transition in their lives- new marriages, new cities, changing relationships, changing jobs, new children.  With all of this change there will be a period of mourning over our “losses”, but I know, that we will all get to that point where our heart has “widened” enough to “take all this”.

Do you feel a widening in your life anywhere? 

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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