Appreciate The Flowers
There is something I have come to understand. Life is like a number line. A line with hash marks at certain intervals that is unique for that particular life. Each mark is an event that moves us from one stage of our lives to the next. These events can be moments of incredible joy or devastating pain, or just moments when the light breaks through. It is easy to see the beauty and the light in your life during times of joy. It can be almost impossible to find the light through pain.
There is something else I have come to understand. Moments of deep pain can be as profound as moments of great joy. April 18, 2004 I lost my only son in an automobile accident. The grief I experienced was unimaginable for anyone that had not had a like experience. For months I was in a kind of intangible void of bleak grays and shadows. My life felt alien to me, and try as I might I kept bumping into this period that someone had dropped in the middle of my sentence. It was out of place and confusing, so I struggled to understand. In my struggle I vacillated between wanting to give up the fight and trying desperately to latch on to my faith and thereby finding a reason to hope.
One day I was in the cafeteria picking at my lunch, when a co-worker came up and asked if it would be okay to sit with me for a while. I said yes and she made herself comfortable across from me at the table. We sat in silence for a bit and then she said to me, “it really will be alright in time.” She told me that she had never lost a child, but she had lost her twin sister much the same as I had lost my son. An automobile had struck her sister. She had felt that she had lost a part of herself. She said that it took time for her to feel like a whole person again. Something in what she said stayed with me. Some time later while thinking about her words the truth in what she said began to sink in and tiniest of light peaked through the gloom I had been wandering around in.
I began to realize in every life cycle there are choices, decisions to make as to how we are going to proceed. God is aware of the situations, but is especially concerned with how we respond to life’s situations. The proof of growing and maturing in life (and faith) is how we choose to respond to these situations. It is in the situation that I found my strength. Our lives are like gardens that we tend and nurture. They are filled with many flowers. There may be a particular flower that you derive special pleasure from. There was that one flower that gave me particular joy. Sometimes flowers whither and die. I mourned the loss of my special flower and for a time I could not quite see through the haze. My inability to see the other flowers did not mean they were not there. The flowers of my life have changed, but are in no way diminished by my experience. This I Believe.