Figs are beginning to ripen; the air is fragrant with blossoming vines. Come on then, my love; my darling: come with me. Song of Solomon 2:13
One of my earliest memories as a child is the fragrance from the honeysuckle that used to grow along the wall just outside my bedroom window. On a warm summer evening when the window was open the heady, luxurious, fragrance would permeate the room and it felt like peace and blessings all rolled into one.
Over the years the sweet fragrance of the honeysuckle has seemed like an anchor so that when ever I smell it, it takes me back to that blissful, secure, innocence of childhood which I might know describe as, using the words of Julian of Norwich, all manner of things being well.
Since those days I have always sought to grow honeysuckle in places where I live, if none is already growing there when I move in. It’s perfume has never ceased to be one of my favourites of all time.
This year as I watched the tiny buds beginning to form on the one that grows along the garden wall at the manse I could hardly wait to enjoy that heady incense once again. Day by day I would go into the garden to check how close to flowering those tiny buds were. As they grew, each day I would breathe in deeply close by to see if I could catch an early waft of that heavenly scent even though I knew there would be none until the flower opened and blossomed. As I waited I marvelled at the tiny bud and how the vine held, hidden within it, such a wondrous gift yet only when the time was right would it’s perfume be released, it was not in my power to quicken the process.
Watching and waiting I was struck by how the sun draws each tiny, gravity defying honeysuckle bud to fullness when wisdom declares the time is right. So too is this true with the blossoming of the soul. Hidden as it is, quietly attended by inner wisdom way beyond our understanding, the soul is drawn by God towards it blossoming in divine fullness.
Some may not even be aware of this inner work, some may have reached this full flowering and offered it’s fragrance in service to the world. Yet others are impatient for this folding…rather like me urging the honeysuckle to flower before it’s ready; but we have to learn that only wisdom deems when the time is right. There is no point in our forcing the journey! If we would only take a leaf (no pun intended) out of the honeysuckle’s book we would simply learn to just be, in the present moment, allowing nature to take its own course - each according to its type.
Instead we fret and worry about all sorts of things which most often never come to pass, we try to control and direct what will be, often things that are not ours to control in the first place and in this modern technological world we are all subjected to time pressures that leave us stressed and anxious and so not able to hear the voice of wisdom within us that speak so softly and tenderly.
Yet if we could hear that voice we would hear about a love for each and everyone which constantly draws all of creation to itself. We can resist it, but only for so long. In the end it’s strains will, rather like a heady scent, catch our attention and draw us to a full and fragrant blossoming. And in the end, at the final reckoning, when all creation is drawn to its maker we will all know the truth spoken by that wonderful mystic Julian of Norwich, that ‘all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.