That's not the flower's fault, or course, or the meadow's. Beauty and peace are two of God's best gifts to the world. The importance of the tangible blessings of friends, family, health, comfort, and love cannot be overstated. We minimize the importance of these "glimpses of heaven" at our peril.
But there is a part of human nature that cannot stay in the meadows for too long, or we forget to look up. Even worse, we begin to resent those who need us to follow them into the valleys and walk with them out of the darkness.
From the December 2011 issue of First Things:
"You can't come in without going out, kids. Always go to the funeral." So Deirdre Sullivan's father taught her.... Going to funerals was partly a duty and partly a matter of learning to do things for others when doing them wasn't convenient, like going to 'the painfully under- attended birthday party' and visiting someone in the hospital during happy hour.If, by God's grace, I can lay claim to similar legacy - that people say hello with tearing eyes because I was willing to enter the valleys of their lives and walk with them - I will consider my life to have been lived well.
It bears fruit, this discipline. When she was sixteen, she went to the funeral home by herself, unwillingly, for her fifth-grade math teacher. 'It was worse than I thought it would be; I was the only kid there. When the condolence line deposited me in front of Miss Emerson's shell-shocked parents, I stammered out, "Sorry about all this," and walked away. But, for the deeply weird expression of sympathy delivered twenty years ago, Miss Emerson's mother still remembers my name and always says hello with tearing eyes."