There are a number of phrases, currently in use, which feature ‘watching’. People watching, bird watching, watching paint dry, watching your weight, watching grass grow, clock watching, to name but a few. We tend not to watch paint dry or the grass grow. But, which of us has not, on occasions and for various reasons, watched the clock!
I am writing this on the 1st Anniversary of the 1st National Lockdown here in the UK. It was the day that our normal everyday life altered, and we entered a time of change and challenge. Little did we know then, that a year on we would find ourselves in another Lockdown.
With the restrictions came a slower pace of life for some. For those of us in the shielding group, even the opportunity to go out for a daily walk was restricted for a time. Without the daily walk I began to watch and observe and note the changes spring and summer brought to my garden and the park the other side of my garden fence. It was an opportunity to take the challenge of Ignatian Spirituality ‘to find God in all things.’ Both through creation and in Lockdown Life.
Watching the trees and shrubs burst into leaf and the flowers come out, bloom, fade, and then different varieties come into bloom, reminded me of the ongoing work of creation. It reminded me too of the promise in the Bible,
“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Genesis 8:2 NIV
In recent weeks I have been watching an Amarylis that I was given grow. It was sent in the post and had obviously been shaken about in transit, because when I opened it, the compost went everywhere! I rescued as much of it as possible and planted the bulb. For quite a while it seemed as if it was not going to grow, as there was no sign of life. But then a small tip of green appeared in the centre of the bulb.
Slowly and surely it began to grow. As the stem became longer I tied it gently to a stick to support it. This way the growth became more apparent as I needed to retie it, each time tying the stem further up the stick. There are now three buds and I am watching and waiting for them to flower!
Observing the progress of the Amarylis has prompted me to reflect back on my life, over the past year and to consider my journey and any changes (spiritual, emotional, physical) that have occurred during this time.
Pondering and praying over this, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s prayer came to mind. You can read the full version here
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages………
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
We have not reached the end of the pandemic. We may be experiencing grief and sorrow. We may be facing a variety of challenges. Yet, in the midst of all that we are currently experiencing, we can take comfort in the fact that God is watching over each of us.
The Lord sees all we do; he watches over his friends day and night. His godly ones receive the answers they seek whenever they cry out to him. Psalm 34:15 TPT
The Spiritual Practice of Lament is a helpful way to reflect back over the past year and to process your experiences with God.
Early on in the first Lockdown 65 churches came together online, to record and sing, a blessing over the UK. Click here to listen