Monday, March 26, 2012

In the Shadow of His Dogwoods.



From Three to Four

Four-leaf clovers are a rarity. Anyone who has sought them for any length of time knows that they are not an easy find. I know this from experience. In my childhood, I had amassed a fine collection of Four-leaf clovers, despite their scarcity. Finding them was not a challenge for me. I knew how to find them! I had PROOF! So much so that by age 13 I had included in that collection two perfect Five-leaf clovers.

At that age though, something shifted for me. I don't know what it was. All I do know is that from that moment on Four-leaf clovers hid from my sight. No matter what field I encountered and no matter how hard I looked, I could not find even one. And I did look for them endlessly.

With time and disappointment, I found I was less likely to look down for I already knew that what I sought would not likely be there for my efforts. Occasionally, I'd look down and spot a field of clover and smile, warmly recalling my childhood joys. Any effort made to improve my success quickly reminded me of the frustrations of past efforts. Sadly, I must report that for forty years all my effort yielded nothing but disappointment. I have sought long and hard for additions to my fine collection and found them not.

I share this to set the context of what is to follow. Something shifted for me this weekend. Last afternoon, I came upon a field of clover and my childhood fancy imposed itself upon my will. I found myself wondering if my "luck" had changed. In that moment, I gave into childish thoughts and I sat down upon my heels in this field. I had done it again, like so many times in my life; I ventured into a gathering of green. Within 5 seconds of youthful excitement, I had found a Four-leaf clover. WOW! I reached down and plucked its stem long and continued my hunt like a kid in a candy store. I hit a vein of luck for within 6 minutes I gather a total of ten Four-leaf clovers with some appearing to be transforming into Five-leaf clovers.

I slept unusually sound that evening.

This morning I have scheduled in my day a return to this field with full expectation of gathering ten Five-leaf clovers.


From Four to More

Today I ventured out to the clovers that delighted me in the late day sun. I ran to the area were I found ten Four-leaf clovers just twelve hours earlier. I looked down to glean what exciting finds I might spy. Immediately I saw another one! Another Four-leaf clover! “WOW” I thought. My lucky streak continued.

I found four more gems very quickly and looked around to see if there were any more spots that might yield more bounty. The square acre at my disposal showed much promise and I venture forth toward other areas that “clovered up” out of the grass.

I sought my prey. I did so with vigor. I did so with earnest. I did so for one hour and found nothing, no matter where I looked. I felt disappointed even after all those that I had already found.

I decided to go back to where I found the others. Within minutes, I found one that seemed to have more than four leaves. Could it be? I carefully pulled it out of the ground and snipped its stem with my fingernails. I unfolded it carefully, counting the leaves as I went. One, two, three, four, FIVE! SIX! SEVEN!!!! Wow! I WAS STUNNED!

I sat there on the ground in disbelief. My mind raced as I contemplated what must have occurred for such a high count. I counted two more times to make sure I wasn’t mistaken. Each time I arrived at a seven pedal count – WOW! I had in my hand a genuine Seven-leaf clover!

I was inspired to invest another thirty minutes of my morning and uncovered a total of ten Four-leaf, one Five-leaf and two Seven-leaf clovers. I was quite pleased to have broken my 40-year streak of not finding a single Four-leaf clover.

Whelmed, I sat there in the sun basking in my good fortune and I it was only then that I noticed something for the first time. In all the areas that I found my Four, Five and Seven-leaf clovers, there existed two Dogwood trees. In fact, it was only in the areas where the shadows of these two trees fell that I had found these gems.

It was in that moment that I recalled something very special. These two trees were planted in remembrance of my dad, who had died only a few years before. They were chosen because he loved Dogwood trees ever since he had converted to Catholicism and discovered their association with Christ.

As I sat there, I became still inside. My excitement died down and a deep gratitude swept over me. For some reason, it was only in the shadows around these two Dogwoods that the ground brought forth these wonderful delights.

For forty-years, I had no luck finding four-leaf clovers. And yet right here in the shadow of His Dogwoods, my cup runneth over.

F&S,

Brother John S. Nagy