As for mortals, their days are like grass;
they flourish like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
— Psalm 103:15-16
We know that life is fleeting. Who knows if we will be here tomorrow? When we speak with a Muslim friend and make plans, they always say, ‘inshallah,’ which means ‘God willing’ or ‘if Allah wills.’ Because, well, we never know.
Are we a doctor’s visit away from seeing that the end is near? Will a car accident be the finish of our days? Will we be in the wrong place at the wrong time, like so many lives cut short in mass shootings? We just never know.
Like the grass of the field or the lawn, life is temporary, and we just don’t know how long we will be here.
A few dry days and the grass withers. A few wet days and the grass washes away. Here today. Perhaps gone tomorrow. We simply NEVER know. It’s an image of impermanence. Of the temporary nature of life. Fleeting. Clippings blown away after mowing.
And yet what an amazing journey it is to be alive! To breathe! To cry! To run! To sing! To think and dream and love and hope! How can we savor it all? This intense collection of experiences that we are given and that we choose. It really is beyond comprehension even though it may be fleeting. Or maybe because it is so fleeting.
Is our life really like grass? Well, grass can be a flourishing groundcover. It can provide food for grazing animals. And habitat for insects and crawlers. Grass helps prevent erosion by holding the soil in place. Grass is interesting as a plant because it grows from the bottom up, not from the top. It is constantly replenishing itself. It provides pleasing vistas of green. Grass creates oxygen for air breathing creatures. It is used as fodder and bedding for animals.
Look more closely and we see its usefulness. It provides beauty. It is helpful to other life forms. It protects. It supports life. It has an important place in the web of life. The life of grass is intense and dynamic and important though impermanent.
Maybe thinking about our lives as grass can give us a deeper appreciation for our commonality with nature and the non-human world around us. Maybe it offers us a bond with other life forms and their tenuous, fleeting experience on Earth. Maybe thinking of our lives as grass can strengthen our connection to the beautiful, fragile planet that is our home.
Prayer Focus – Like a field of green
Prayer — Like the flourishing grasses gracing the planet, may we learn to thrive and grow and give in the precious days allotted to us. May we cultivate a deeper appreciation for the gift of each and every moment of life — our lives and the life of the world around us. Amen.