Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Yellow camellias

One of the books I liked to read at my grandfather's house was about a medical missionary working in pre-War China along the old silk roads.  It was understated in its Christianity but vivid in its descriptions of a long lost world.  One of the stories concerned a rumour that there was a yellow camellia growing in one of the Buddhist convents and our intrepid medical missionary goes out investigate.  Yellow camellias are rare and far more rare back then than they are now. He was met by one of the nuns who said quite plainly that yellow camellias don't exist.  It took a lot of persuasion for him to be allowed to look further, but there was indeed a yellow camellia in the grounds of the enclosure.  There was absolutely no recognition from the nun, she was sticking to her belief even when confronted with the shrub.

Throughout my life,  keep feeling I meet that Buddhist nun in various guises; a complete absence of curiosity, a lifelessness, a dull sense of righteousness, a lack of hospitality....

And there have been various yellow camellias that I have been chasing, but every time I get a hint that I may be close, she's stood in the doorway telling me to go away, there is nothing to see here. If I am not careful, she sucks the life out of me, she is very persuasive and I am by nature far too passive and obedient. Sometimes I give up.

Right now I have a somewhat ephemeral yellow camellia in my sights.  I know that I am not thriving in the life I am living, it is more than the sum of my job and my illness (though something very bizarre is happening on that front- see footnote*). I know I have to do something and am resigning from my job, I will see out this academic year, but I will not be doing another. And she is there, telling me all the consequences of my actions: giving up a very cushy salary, losing the ability to keep renting this house or running my car, moving away from the network of people I like and who seem to like me.... She's speaking for the wisdom of this world that says that ephemeral yellow camellias don't exist, that the life I am living is as good as it gets, that I'm a fool. However, this runs so deep and action is needed and I'm not scared or anxious, but I am weary and I'm in the process of simply and silently squeezing past her. I KNOW there is something better, something that I am supposed to be doing, some way of being the person I was created to be.... but at the moment it is sadly a Rumsfeldian known-unknown, but one that needs action in order to reveal itself fully.

*****

Today: Feast of the Holy Innocents, we are reminded that innocence is so often the first casualty when we stand up to our enemy.  Innocence has no voice of its own. We can never regain that innocence once it has been lost, but there is something childlike that we need if we are to overcome the world.  Even with our world-weary eyes and bodies, we can have a child like trust and joy that allows us to run into that unkempt garden beyond the convent walls and discover what we know to be there.

I do like today's Collect:
O God, Whose praise the martyred Innocents rendered this day not in words, but in their death; mortify within us all vices, that our lives may declare in actions the faith which our tongues profess in words. Per Dominum nostrum....

******
A rare yellow camellia


Footnote*
My illness coincided with the growth of a lump on my body.  It was diagnosed as a lipoma and therefore considered harmless and nothing to worry about and nothing to do with my complaint. My health care provider refused to see the need for its removal.  It grew to be larger than a hen's egg and I got so fed up that I paid to have it removed privately. It was certainly not a textbook object, the surgeon greeted it with a "gosh that is unusual!", but the original diagnosis stuck. The operation was performed under GA two weeks ago.  The hypos have stopped (they were mainly nighttime ones and ones when I was sat for long periods of time)..... physically I am a lot better.... could this lump have been excreting something that triggered insulin production?  I'll never know....  

So it is now definitely not illness that is making me walk away from my comfort zone..... my inability to thrive goes way deeper than that....

2 comments:

Catpuss said...

I am so happy that you have been posting so much recently, it's been a treasure, I really love your blog. Will pray for you to thrive. I am looking for a yellow camellia myself. God bless you.

Robert said...

You know, I pray for you every day, and your intentions, but I don't often think of coming around to read your blog. Today, however, I have read several posts, and I must say, I am, as usual fascinated. So much food for thought. And I am fascinated by the lump, and its possible effect on your health, that it might have been excreting something... Any way, I am always happy and provoked to thought by coming here, so I am grateful that you are still writing. God bless you and Happy New Year! Robert from USA