Friday, April 25, 2014

Lessons from a Wild Carrot / Robin Livingston

Symbolism is a powerful thing. During a recent women’s retreat I was attending we were invited to participate in a walk along some beautiful nature trails. Our goal was a spot in the woods where several sculptures depicting Jesus’ death on the cross were set up for those pilgrims wishing to pray and meditate.

It was suggested that during our walk we try to find something in nature to represent whatever it was that we would like to leave at the foot of that cross. I had done a similar exercise once before where we carried a stone representing our burdens and set it down at the foot of a cross before walking away. I’d found it to be a profoundly moving experience so I was eager to participate.


I had no idea what I was looking for, but what caught my eye was a cluster of seeds from a plant called Queen Anne’s Lace or more commonly, Wild Carrot. These were last year’s plants, and the stems of what was once a spray of delicate white flowers were all curved upward like the bars of a miniature birdcage enclosing the seeds within.

 It was perfect. Earlier that morning, I’d been wrestling with some pretty negative emotions. Anger and self pity are a snare that can cripple you even when you are convinced they are justified.  I knew that I had to lay them down or they would become the bars of a cage, trapping all my potential inside where there would be no opportunity for the seeds in me to produce the fruit that God intended.

 I thought about that as I walked along the trail with the brittle little cage of seeds nestled in my palm. When I set it down at the foot of the cross I felt lighter somehow…at peace and free. I’ll never look at Wild Carrot again without remembering.

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