A Garden Visit
Howard Sheehy of Independence, MO, USA
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things… -Colossians 1:19-20
Recently, Florine and I were invited to a dinner hosted by the Independence mayor’s office to honor a group of 35 Japanese residents of Higashimurayama, the sister city of Independence. Seated at a table next to us I recognized an old friend, Shigero Ono. Ono-san, was the person that met Yoko Ishikawa and me when we first went by train to Higashimurayama in the spring of 1992 to meet with the owners of landscaping companies that we might interest in helping us create a Japanese garden in the Temple.
Mr. Ono took me across the room to meet two other men in the delegation: Hiroyuki Kawai, the son of one of the original gardeners, and Kazuo Koinuma, who is currently the president of the Garden Club, the organizing group of those who came to design and install the garden. In our conversation I learned that they were very disappointed that the Temple was not going to be open on the following day. It would be their last day of the visit and they would not be able to see the garden they had heard so much about. I made a telephone call and arranged with Bishop Steve Graffeo to meet us at an early hour on Labor Day and allow us to enter not only the Temple, but the Japanese garden itself.
The Japanese men, along with their host families, Roger and Mary Swick and Bruce Benson, spent more than an hour in the garden and visiting the Sanctuary where, as luck would have it, a lady was practicing on the organ. Everyone was thrilled. Mr. Kawai brought with him a picture of his father standing in a particular spot in the garden, and we took his picture in the same location to take home to his family. It was a bonding and beautiful experience for all of us.
“Over the years we melt into what we seek” (Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year).
We are in the threshold between seasons in the Christian calendar. You may have been noticing the physical transitions of the seasons wherever you live as some enter the depths of winter and others the warmth of summer. The seasons are a visible reminder that even among the most predictable rhythms and routines of our lives, change is always happening. The events of our moments, days, weeks, years form us and transform us over time. We enter each season different from when we arrived here last. This is the nature of this cyclical journey of faith. In these final days of the Christian calendar and the season of Ordinary time, there is opportunity to take a sacred pause, to notice how you arrive in this threshold. What have you been formed by this year? What has been deepening you as you’ve lived through another cycle of this life of faith?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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