Old protective husk
Encounters perfect conflict,
Reveals inner light.
“Money plant! This is how you make money!” That is how my grandmother introduced me to Lunaria annua. Then she showed me how to rub the dried pods so that the husk comes off to reveal the silvery opalescent leaf.
These plants grow wild in my neighborhood and when I see them, I nod to these old friends. But now I call them “Inner Light” plants because they remind me of what it takes to reveal our Inner Light.
It takes just the perfect amount of friction or conflict for us to lose our old skins, our old way of being. Yet we all shy away from it because disagreement is uncomfortable. It’s easier to talk about the traffic or the weather or sports. And yet when we meet conflict and allow it to help us shed our old ways of thinking or being, our beauty is revealed.
How can there be any life without conflict? What happens when the shovel hits the soil? That’s conflict! Without that conflict the soil will remain hard, unforgiving and nothing in it will grow—except maybe weeds.
I think it is the same for all of us. If don’t allow conflict, if we don’t allow the soil of our souls to be dug up, turned over and softened, there is not much chance of growth. But as Christians, aren’t we supposed to avoid conflict? Be loving and kind and acquiescent?
I point you to the Bible. The Prophets were all about conflict! Speaking truth to power when it would have been so much easier to be quiet. There’s Moses arguing with his stubborn people yet he refuses to leave them. And of course Jesus was Mr. Conflict! Overturning the tables in the temple, chastising the disciples—going to Calvary.
Besides “money plant,” another name for Lunaria Annua is “honesty” plant—so perfect because that is the most important part of conflict: truth. Honesty and truth are what give us the courage to challenge and be challenged. Conflict growing from honesty and truth is a place of growth and place of grace.
We all know that swallowing the truth time after time does no one any good. Sometimes the smallest truth can be the hardest to voice.
“I felt really hurt when you said that.”
“I can’t cover for you any more. It’s wrong that you are not doing your share of the work.”
“I know you are cheating.”
Truth can also be dangerous. We could lose our jobs, our relationships, even our lives. And truth can be damaging to the other person if spoken without love.
I was recently with some friends who were sharing stories. One person, choking back tears told a very sad and intense story finishing with, “I’ve never told that story before.”
Immediately another person said, “Yes, you did. You’ve told us about that before.”
I quickly rerouted the conversation because although they were correct, to remind this person who just spilled their guts that this was a rerun, seemed cruel to me.
I go with the African proverb: “All truth is good, but not all truth at all times.” And this was one of those times. Context. Intent.
At the same time I’ve often said, “Speak your truth with love and compassion and let the chips fall where they may.” Love and compassion. Sometimes we just want to be right but is that loving and compassion choice?
That’s where I think God’s grace comes in. If we are tuned into Spirit we will know what is loving and compassionate. And sometimes being loving actually means hurting the other person.
“You have drinking problem that is destroying this family.”
So many words about a plant that grows wild along the highway! “Money plant,” “Inner Light plant,” “honesty plant.” Just don’t call it a weed.