“Because it isn’t me…”

Author:  Rachelle Rieke
…a thought for why a beautiful landscape remains startling and wondrous each time it is seen, for why it is always new. Why does the Grand Canyon never cease to incite awe? Notably, its vastness only plays a part in this awe, not all, as the smallest blooming flower or a newly laid robin’s egg contains the same awe. They contain their own vastness – a robin’s egg holds the sky.
This reason, “because it isn’t me,” for the enduring surprise in things experienced over and over stood out to me as I was reading the other morning. The author (Jane Hirshfield, How Great Poems Transform the World) wrote, “The world’s beauty continually surprises in no small part because it is not controlled by self or what self knows.” I think this beautifully exemplifies the abiding character of God that, rather than making us feel small, rends open a room inside of us that causes air to rush in, a fresh breath that fills the newly created space. We are enlarged rather than diminished in the presence of such greatness in the same way that experiencing more of God’s presence is to be expanded in spirit and not diminished.
This experience of wonder, of deep joy in simple beauty or vast, is to step into a broad place. I think of the broad place mentioned in Psalm 18:19: His love broke open the way and he brought me into a beautiful broad place. It’s like stepping into an open field of flowers and big sky, not created but found (an expansion of knowing) that changes us. A poem, work of art, a discovery, a revelation is to pick one of these flowers to bring back to share. A life, like a poem, gives off the fragrance and color of the broad place, and so the reader also experiences it and becomes expanded in the reading.
“Because it isn’t me” relieves me of the pressure to strive and strain. It releases me to relax into wonder, to pick flowers in the endless sea of them found in the broad place of expansion. This is heaven within all of us – completely given by God – dependent only on how much we are willing to see beyond ourselves. It is a grace as simple as an outward glance.
This thought also allows for the endless possibility of creativity and expansion – an endless supply of flowers to be picked and arranged. Someone else’s experience does not diminish the possibility of one’s own experience (or “success”), rather enhances it by providing another expansion – another flower of the infinite whole that enriches and deepens one’s perspective. Unsurprisingly, our ability to see, to perceive, is broadened by this outward looking, allowing for enlargement. There is no place more cramped than looking within one’s own self. That must be why Jesus says that in losing our life, we will find it.
Negativity, pessimism, judgment are all flavors of self-seeing. Looking outward, looking toward the face of God, is a relinquishing of what is rote, what is logical, what is “known” in order to invite expansion, or transformation, of the mind. These expansions “displace the existing self with a changed one.”
Like flowers of this field each interaction with each person, then too, is a potential for expansion of ourselves. Love is expansion; love is outward reaching, as a flower opens and gives, and in so doing receives the fullness of sunlight. A flower that keeps its petals hidden within, held tightly to itself, will never be a realization of beauty or a revelation of love. Its blossoming allows for a blossoming within the beholder in the experience of joy, of love, of wonder. A release of love is a release of God’s presence – no wonder the delight of a flower in bloom is timeless.
People are like flowers. Your life is meant to be a revelation of love, and remember, God clothes the flowers of the field.