I recently bought a bouquet of flowers at Trader Joe’s. Flowers are one of those frivolous items I have a hard time buying for myself. I get that same uncomfortable feeling when I purchase a $14. artsy magazine or a $12. bottle of fancy nail polish. A strange guilt overcomes me when I spend money on things I don’t necessarily need. Funny thing is I won’t think twice when purchasing these type of items for someone else.
My scribbled shopping list consisted of flaxseed oatmeal, Greek yogurt, and avocados….flowers weren’t on the list. I had recently been to a friend’s place, and loved the fresh blooms on her coffee table, this was the tiny push I needed. I slowly circled the floral display carefully deciding which bunch to place in my cart. You would have thought I was buying a damn car the way I seriously pondered this purchase. I began to laugh at myself, and secretly said, “Get over yourself Cindy…it’s only flowers.”
I decided on the bouquet of lilies you see above. I was somewhat concerned that the buds were closed, but then rationalized that I would get my money’s worth because they would last longer.
When I arrived home my precious purchase was attended to first. After carefully cutting the long stems at the proper angle, I gingerly placed them in the perfect vase.
There was no doubt in my mind that my flowers would begin to open the next day. They didn’t. This is where the lesson began. I started to think about expectations, and how I strive not to have any. Expectations tend to get me in trouble. I suppose we all expect things at times, especially when it comes to people.
My goal is to love unconditionally, while not creating pictures in my mind on how others will react. Perhaps I do this to protect myself from disappointment. The lilies made me think about the challenge of accepting things as they are. More importantly, they remind me that things are just as they should be. They have become an odd symbol of trust and acceptance.
Each morning the first thing I’ve been looking at are my lilies. Here they are at day three.
Yup, still closed…except one lone bloom. Hmmm, was it me? Was I not placing them in the correct light, should I add a shot of sugar in the water, perhaps I cut the stems wrong? While washing the dishes, I pondered the fate of my blooms.
I began to think about expectations…that thing that gets me into emotional trouble at times. I realized that when I hold onto longings, I often miss the beauty of now. I began to examine my closed buds with new eyes. I noticed their delicate shape and silky texture, and suddenly saw the unique beauty each stalk held. Yes, a different beauty than I had hoped for, but nonetheless beautiful.
I relate to these tightly closed blooms. They remind me how that I too need to close up at times. I’m deeply grateful for the important people in my life that instinctively understand my need to occasionally withdraw and recharge. It feels wonderful to be accepted exactly as I am.
A week has passed, and my blooms are still doing their thing, which was absolutely nothing. I’ve decided this wise bouquet certainly knows how to take care of itself. I still look at my vase first thing each morning, now more out of curiosity than expectation. My urge to return my non-flowering misfits has passed, and I tenderly cherish my silent lilies.
I honor their need to stay tightly coiled and release them from all expectations. I smile at the magic they have lovingly handed me.
Here’s a peek at my lilies this morning…day 7. Beautiful aren’t they?