It’s springtime. The season when winter eases its chokehold, the ground softens making way for new growth. Buds burst open and leaves unfurl as young flowers mature into their blossoms.
Nestled together in the garden, it’s not long before the inevitable comparisons arise. Each amazing and breathtaking in their own right, they can’t help but wonder how they measure up against the whole.
“Are my petals too plump?
“Do these leaves make my bottom look wide?”
Of course not. You’re beautiful.
“You’re just saying that because you’re my gardener, aren’t you?”
Then it happens. The handsome stranger strolls along and spritzs the crowd with a mist of attention. The bed goes crazy. Everyone brightens, arching further toward the admirer, each hoping to be noticed. “Pick me. Pick me!”
He leans over and plucks you by the stem, taking you home for his own. You’ve been chosen as the most beautiful bloom, a stand out among the crowd, worthy of being taken home for display.
But you despair. You’re alone. You find yourself perched on a pedestal. No longer surrounded by your colorful counterparts, once admired by many, you’re now occupied by one. Passersby gawk and exclaim, but rarely linger. Why would they?
You’re taken. Chosen.
You glance around, and wonder, “What are the others doing?” Are they basking in the sun? Adorned by bees and butterflies? Or swaying to the breeze, wild and free.
Why so sad? Isn’t this what you wanted? Weren’t you feeling cramped, lost among the cluster of your peers? Didn’t you yearn to be deemed most lovely? Most desirable?
Well, sure…in so many words. We all want to be “picked,” cherished as the most beautiful, perfect creation of all. Doesn’t it follow that we should be ecstatic when clipped free from the crowd? Aren’t we supposed to be happy?
Yes and no. If your petals were chosen to express love, then yes. But if they were chosen to be displayed like a trophy…then no. What’s the point?
Odd to compare girls to flowers, I know. But as my daughter grows and blossoms, I can’t help but see the similarities. While toiling away in the garden, weeding and pruning, mulching and fertilizing, I feel a swell of anticipation — it’s spring! The time for renewal and growth, blossoms and beauty –
And my daughter’s birthday. Time passes so quickly, she’s maturing so fast. It seems like only yesterday she was a little girl. But now, she’s heading toward adolescence and the change is remarkable. She’s blossoming toward her teenage years, flowering into womanhood.
And I worry. She’s feeling the pinch of the crowd, the snip of comparison. How do I reassure her of her glorious and unique qualities? Remind her she is an extraordinary, oxygen-breathing, life-creating creature to behold? An integral piece in the cycle of life?
I want to tell her: rejoice in your color and shape. Embrace the length of your stems, the breadth of your petals. While they may differ from others, they all work the same. Ultimately, our physical parts all perform the same tasks.
Yes, indulge in the sunshine, reach for the sky, bask in the attention of your admirers — but be wary the gardener interested in clipping your beauty for his own. If your blooms must be taken, aim for love. A rose shared between hearts lasts a lifetime. Cuttings die within days.
Consider instead, the bees. They’re willing to work hard for your nectar! As opposed to being selfish, their goal is worthy; seeking the highest and best good. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the gardener willing to spritz you with attention, just keep in mind some spritzers carry toxic substances. At first glance, they appear harmless, but upon closer inspection the poison is revealed. But then again, my sweet, you were so focused on being noticed…
Please. Take your time. Allow nature to take its course. You’ll be happier in the end.