May 04, 2005

Flower in the crannied wall

FLOWER in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies;-
Hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower-but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

I was a philosophy major at Occidental College in Los Angeles. It was one of the popular majors or pre-theological students and suited me well since it encouraged questioning. My major professor, Dr. Cyril Gloyn was enamored with Tennyson's poem Flower in a Crannied Wall. He saw it as a compact illustration of the belief that if we could understand any tiny portion of nature completely, we would gain a glimpse of the meaning of it all.


Soon after arriving in Bellingham we saw this serigraph by Katherine Liu at Hammond's Gallery and simply had to have it. It is titled Flower in a Crannied Wall and has given a visual image for Tennyson's poem to me. It also reminds me that there is a connectedness between every part of nature, and an unseen harmony in which all is one.

William Blake captured the same idea in these lines.

To see the world in a grain of sand
and heaven in a wild flower
hold infinity in the palm of your hand
and eternity in an hour.

I wonder about this unity as I consider passing beyond this life. Will I be immersed in the oneness? Will there be a greater understanding of life after death? These are topics for reflection and meditation. I am happy to wonder about them, even as I feel secure in God's unassailable grace.

Posted by Donel at May 4, 2005 08:56 PM

Donel, Art and poetry sometimes initiate our feelings into some sort of response to the world we are in. Thank you for expressing in words what we as pastoral care givers so often experience with people who are transitioning from one world to the next. It is truly a transformation that begins in this life and moves forward. God bless you today and touch your family with immeasurable joy in living in the moment. Debbie

Posted by: Debbie at May 5, 2005 09:01 AM

An exquisite piece of art--thanks for sharing the words to go with it.

Posted by: Connie Joy Newcomer at May 5, 2005 09:58 AM

Thanks for the beautiful message.

It's comforting to be reminded that the infinite can be glimpsed in the finite.

It's all one great big "now".

I'm praying for you and holding you and your family in love.

Mary Becker

Posted by: Mary Becker at May 5, 2005 04:20 PM


Your continuing gift of explaining and celebrating life leaves me comforted and in awe. When we first arrived at FCCB 20-some years ago I must admit that it was not for the little we knew. No, we arrived when 2 year old Meagan stomped her foot and once again refused to go to Sunday School because she didn't want to be "yonely (her word)" There were no other 2 yr olds, so she chose to stay in the sanctuary and amused the pew dwellers with her stunning renditions of the hymns. While, of course, she was always in tune, the fact that she was pre-verbal led to some raised eyebrows at her interpretations and variations on the lyrics.

We found such a wonderful home for our family at FCCB when we came to "try you out." The nursery floweth over with babies for Meagan to grow with and Kyle joined the noisy happy crowd that eventually became the classes of 1996-97.

But Kent and I settled into the pews for the sermon. NEVER before had we anticipated that particular 20 minutes of each Sunday. But every Sunday, there we were, listening as Donel wove poems, stories and music (both sacred and secular)into sermons that were easily understood life lessons.

And that is what is happening again right here. Donel is teaching life's lessons through poetry, Bibical text, hymns and his own life's stories. And I GET IT. I love to understand how "things" work, and the assurance that they WILL work, and that is the gift I am accepting each time I log in here.

Thank you Donel.

Love, Marilee

Posted by: Marilee at May 6, 2005 08:56 AM

Have been following your walk about......which is what the shaman call it in the Amazon when we go into the rain forrest.....Having cancer as a guest myself, has been full of discoveries....cancer does not wash dishes,doesn't follow a schedule, does love to walk throughout my insides;is everpresent 7/24 and does engage me with new bumps and seems to be moving more furniture into my inner spaces that make me bulge. I've not been a great host at times...haved tried to evict cancer, but the attachment for me is too strong....friends do come in many forms..oh my.

It is in the darkness of death where the hard work is performed; it is in the light of birth where we get to show off the results...both are not ease filled....Good Friday and Easter are joined at the hip and from that union come hope and possibility for us all....keep day we must compare notes...I still haven't figured out whether cancer used Bekins or Allied Vans to move into me...
John Baker

Posted by: john baker at May 6, 2005 03:59 PM
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