In Praise of Irreverence

The forsythia bush that my mother planted during the first Bush Administration has grown unruly.

Spring after spring, its curious branches have explored further, higher, wider. It has taken over the fence it’s rooted near and is stretching into the lawn.

The forsythia has been trimmed, pruned, out and out lopped. But despite the best restrictive efforts, the forsythia won’t stay in its lane. It’s not interested in being tamed.

And why should it be?

What is taming if not cutting you down, sticking you in your lane, keeping you small and predictable and manageable. Tame is easy to handle.

The forsythia, though, is irreverent. It doesn’t adhere to what the tamers, trimmers, pruners, and loppers want. It won’t be downsized to a dull, predictable existence. The forsythia has a life to live. And it’s going to do it.

And wouldn’t that be wonderful if we lived like that? Huge and unrestricted, without reverence for the narrow lane society sticks us in?

It might not be easy. There will still be the trimmers and the loppers out to tame us, chide us, keep us down to size. But the irreverent life would be genuine. It would be with reverence for the mystery, the wild unpredictability, the huge, unrestricted life in us that begs to explore, to live further, higher, wider.

So praise for that forsythia. Praise for the unruly souls who won’t be tamed. And praise, big praise, for irreverence.

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