Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Petals In The Wind

Apple blossoms flower the dining room table, and another one slips off to flurry down in the breeze. I think to myself that I need to take them outside and put them to rest. Their bloom has surely given way to a mess.

I'm drawn back to the words of a teacher I once worked with : "I never bring real flowers in the house- only artificial ones. The real ones just make too much of a mess." I remember being horrified (seriously) by the very thought of no real flowers in the house! I wasn't married yet, but I already had visions of the lovely flowers that would fill my home with beauty and lavish scent.

Now I have to laugh; you see, I still bring fresh flowers in, but they ARE A MESS! And I think Of dear Ms. Maclin's words every time I clean up a flower mess. So today, I'm sitting on the bench, trying to fix my vacuum, and it stinks. It smells like Roy, our lab. I can't imagine not having him inside with us, but no matter what we do, he just has a more "doggy" odor. And I'm thinking about all these messes that could be avoided?

And that's just it. There is a price for being real. Flowers that bestow scent and loveliness fade and die. Dogs smell and shed hair. Children change clothes, muddy floors, squeeze toothpaste all over the place, spill juice, and make all manner of messes ...

But imagine a world with no Lilac smell, no cuddly dogs breathing soft on the sheepskin rug, no little feet pitter patting towards you with  pink boots and bathing suit. Imagine a life of artificiality, where it's all fake. The house is clean: no flower messes, no dog hair to vacuum, no fingerprints to wipe....

But no life. No life, because life is messy. The passion and beauty of real living, real relationships, emotions that swell and fill come at a price- the price of being vulnerable to the pain, the discomfort, the mess. And so many times, because I don't want the mess, I choose the artificial. I sacrifice the living that runs deep for surface living that shields but doesn't penetrate, that' s safe but not overflowing- a lifeless void that does not infuse all who God is. Because He is real, and there is no substitute for the breath of a living God.

So many times we bring "artificial flowers" into our souls, because we don't want the mess of " real flowers." We choose to keep relationships shallow and flat, because we're afraid of the dying- the death of emotions, the death of loneliness, the death of self.

When I choose to love someone in a way that is authentic, I give pieces of myself away; those emotions that bloom and flower may some day be petals in the wind. But if my soul has become more beautiful through that loving, even if for just a short while, that beauty will never fade. Real relationships edify and sculpt a soul for eternity.

"I fly those flights of a fluid and swallowing soul, my course runs below the soundings of plummets."
~Walt Whitman