Carys’ sabbatical: inspired by nature. Wild Flowers 2/3

At the start of my sabbatical, when I was feeling anxious about the time ahead I did a ‘Take Time’ meditation it was titled Do Not Worry, and had the bible reading about wild flowers and how God cares for them so also will care for us. Since then everywhere I have been I have been seeing the wild flowers. What I would normally walk past, drive past and not really notice I have been stopping and looking. Each walk that I have done there has always been some lovely but perhaps small flowers to look at. As I have looked at the detail I have remembered Christ’s presence with me. Christ who values the small, the struggling, the vulnerable, Christ who is not about power and might but values and loves the small. Christ who wants us help the vulnerable, lift up the small and recognise and be with those who are struggling, to walk with them alongside in whatever they are facing.I spent a few days camping in Somerset at Wookey, it was here on the very quiet campsite that I saw the rabbits playing in the field as I sat quiet watching evening come. While here i spent a day in Wells, and a couple of days in Glastonbury. Early one morning I was in Glastonbury in time to get breakfast (I had seen a cafe the previous day that did what sounded very tasty different porridge, but when i got there it didn’t open till later so ended up in another cafe). After breakfast I went along the road a came upon a lovely garden St Margarets chapel and almshouses. A wonderful space to sit, be still, a peaceful garden. I was finding Christ not just at looking at wild flowers but by spending time in lovely gardens. This small garden was so peaceful that I spent a long time sitting, relaxing and praying in it.This was a day of peaceful gardens, I then went to Glastonbury Abbey, while I was in the abbey grounds I didn’t just spend time looking at the ruins but walking all round the grounds. I found myself in the herb garden and spent along time looking at just one small flower, at its design, at its beauty looking at the detail of one one even though it was in the middle of many lovely flowers.Later that day I walked up to The Chalice Well & Gardens, another place of peace, healing and rest. I will talk more of this place when I write up how i have encountered Christ through water.Over the different weeks of my sabbatical I have seen the flowers change as the seasons change. I am noticing different flowers. At the start of the time i went to The Barbara Hepworth’s garden, in the midst of amazing sculptures I noticed a fern curled up. I remembered how God had spoken to me before through the image of a fern along with the words ‘unfurl yourself’. It had moved me a long time ago because I remember something about unfurling yourself was mentioned at my ordination retreat and I connected with it because it was an image that already meant something.Another day walking along the SW coastal path I suddenly saw a foxglove, a new flower coming out as the season changed. I was delighted to see it because seeing foxgloveswas something that had spoken to me a long time ago. As I continued my walk I remembered…about twenty years ago during a meditation I had seen a golden eagle fly low over a garden, the garden was long and alongside the garden were foxgloves. Accompanying the meditation were the words ‘fly little bird’, I sensed that I was the eagle and that God had something for me to do. (When I had this meditation I did not know about the famous bible verse from Isaiah about an eagle, you can imagine that later that verse be came important to me.) Years later I was on placement with a Deacon in Gloucestershire one day I was standing at her garden door looking over a garden and I recognised that it was that same garden I had seen during the meditation. All of that was part of my call to ministry. So today when I see a foxglove I feel delight and remember I call.Wild flowers have been reminding me of Christ’s presence with me and the sense of my calling. The gardens have been places of stillness,  peace and reflection.