Yesterday I set out to buy flowers. I love shopping for flowers. I don’t know much about any variety, but I enjoy the colors of the blooms and the aura of the gardens. I walked up and down every aisle, just looking. I paid attention to the size of the plants and the amount of sun they needed to thrive. I grabbed a cart and headed through again, taking more time to study the particulars for ones I thought I could grow most successfully. I was completely, blissfully overwhelmed because I’ve never kept flowers alive all summer. I ended up in the “distressed plants” area, where the flowers had been significantly marked down in hopes that somebody would buy them. I bought them. This way, I figured, if they died, I’d not be out a lot of money. I left with a variety of tiny yellow, medium pink, and bigger red (kind of blooming) flowers. I also bought green spikes, plants with dark red leaves, and purple somethings, all of which were withering and needed attention.
I was relieved and excited to take my new treasures home to create beautiful pots for my back deck. That’s when I got to thinking…aren’t people like plants? We come in different varieties and sizes and we all have different needs. Some of us are “sunny” and others are not. Some have big, bright, colorful blooms, while others are plush with no color at all. Some of us are healthy, others are withered. Some grab attention without trying, and others exist without notice. Some people need a lot of attention and want everything to be “just right” before blooming, while others bloom with little or no attention at all. Some people are climbers, grabbing whatever is available to help them grow tall and strong, other people are more comfortable staying low, moving and creeping along the ground. Some of us need rich soil to grow, while others can spring up through rocks and sand. Some people take root in our gardens and stay forever, returning year after year without thought; others take root for a season, and then are gone until they are planted again.
I wonder if I appreciate the people in my life the way I appreciate flowers. Have I paid attention to what they need to grow? Am I watering them often enough? Am I allowing them to bloom when they are ready, or rushing them because I am ready? Am I accepting them for who they are? Do I focus only on what they look like? Do I plant them carefully, and nurture them accordingly? Do I notice their growth and marvel at their blooms? When they begin to wither, do I take the time to help them heal? Do I offer them sunshine as well as rain? Do I love them enough? Do I show that I love them? Do they know that I love them?
Humm… Maybe I should expand my garden and plant it in a corner of my yard. I could tend to it daily, prune it as necessary, nurture a variety of plants and enjoy more than a few withered flowers in pots on my back deck. This post was written by Margaret Domnick, Speech Language Pathologist.