“There are people whose presence is encouraging….
The sense of encouragement you feel from them is not simply their words or gestures;
It is rather their whole presence enfolding you
And helping you find the concealed door” - John O’Donohue
In THE SECERET GARDEN, a hope-filled story, a ten year old orphan Mary is sent to live with her reclusive uncle in the desolate Yorkshire moors. As she goes about her daily exploration, she finds a high-walled garden. Mary longs to get inside that garden but she cannot find the entrance into it. The walls are covered with thick, dangling vines due to years of neglect, and they hide the wooden gate. Day after day Mary goes back to the garden, bringing with her a constant yearning to find a way inside.
One sunny day, a chirping robin flits from the top of the garden wall to the ground beside her. Mary looks down to where the bird has landed and sees the top of a buried key. (May the Holy Spirit help us find the key to our heart, that beautiful but neglected garden). Not long after she digs the rusty key out, Mary discovers the concealed gate. Her heart beats wildly as she turns the corroded key in the lock. One strong turn, a bit of grunting effort to push the long unused gate open, and Mary is finally able to walk into the abandoned garden. Eventually, with the assistance of some newly found friends, Mary restores the place to its natural beauty. (Let us help each other in discovering our inner beauty and the presence of the One we love.)
In many ways our hidden self is like the secret garden Mary found. We have this realm of beauty and potential growth within us, but we do not always believe in it or know how to reach it. When we do find our way to our true self, there is work to be done in order to resurrect or restore our innate goodness.
Like Mary’s robin and the friends who assisted her, we, too, have helpers in our life who, knowingly or unknowingly, aid us in our search for the concealed door to our inner garden. Who are these companions of growth? These are people who believe in me before I believe in myself. These companions challenge me to see the parts of my self that were encumbered by my ego. They give me courage to seek and find the veiled realm of my authentic self.
To sum up, others can help us open the door of our heart. We need them to teach us how to pray, to encourage us to find and use our personal talents, to challenge us to expand our minds and hearts.
Trusted Gardener, tame what has grown too wild. Free what has become too tame. Claim what has been neglected. Awaken what has been dormant. Thank you for the companions whose presence lead me to my deeper self. I open the door of my heart to you. Amen