Today was much better! It was a beautifully gorgeous sunny and warm spring day. I was right, my next blog post isn’t a dreary “Losing Hope” theme like yesterday’s. I worked at packing for the unwanted move, while opening my mind more to the idea that this will end up good for us in some way in the end. I worked on my painting and transplanted more bell peppers for our plant sale. The first created something new, the second is letting go of my garden since we have to vacate before harvest time. Life is often this way, something gained while something is lost.
I imagine our lives as a train station where tracks run both directions. Sometimes they run at equal speeds, sometimes not. Sometimes you can see both trains at the same time, other times not. But one train doesn’t negate the other, even if their journeys and destinations are different. I have to remind myself of this often because I have a tendency to feel as if I can’t enjoy the pleasure trip if a crisis trip is running alongside on the other track. But most of the time there’s an overlap of good things and bad things. We can’t wait for all of the bad things to go away- we must live our lives and find joy where we can.
So, on that philosophical note, I’ll wrap up by saying that our housing problem is unresolved. In fact, it’s worse. There are now NO homes that meet our needs listed for rent by the property management, and very few outside of that company either. What few are available are ridiculously expensive. It’s not a good outlook at the moment. It could change any day. If it doesn’t, we’ll muster through somehow. I’ll take one day at a time. It was a good day because I had a better attitude. I got a lot done. And my husband brought home cookies.
“When we moved here, I didn’t know that the shrubs near the front porch were the flowering kind, until one day they burst out in beautiful pink and white blossoms. The flowers graced the ground when they fell, leaving a carpet of petals. The floral shower right outside our door was such a nice surprise!
Sometimes in life we fear the unexpected- the call we don’t ever want to receive, the news we can’t bear- but there are times when the unexpected is a blessing. From the big surprises we didn’t see coming, to the small ones, an ordinary day can change in an instant over a cascade of flowers.”
So, here we are several years later, and these flowers are in bloom again. If you’ve read my recent blog posts, you might recall that there have been some unexpected developments- shocking sudden deaths- four of them within a few months of each other. I thought there were five, but my mind seems to have inflated that count. Now I’m worried that there IS a fifth one that I’ll learn about soon.
That’s a lot of “unexpected”- and not the good kind. Yes, an ordinary day can change in an instant. This time around, I feel sad when I see these flowers. They seem to be funeral flowers at the moment.
This is how life is, beauty is in the perspective. We can see something beautiful and feel joy, or feel sadness, or something else entirely. Here’s hoping that the next unexpected thing that comes our way is a blessing.
Can we trust ourselves to always feel or act in a predictable way? Do we ever take ourselves by surprise by doing something that seems out of character? The above painting, “Consider the Lilies” isn’t in my typical style. Sometimes when I sit down to paint, my art doesn’t flow the way that I expect. It doesn’t mean that the new style is bad, even if I don’t personally like it. It only means that it’s different, not what I expected. That’s true of life in general.
There are times when we don’t do or feel, what we’d ordinarily do or feel, and this may be unsettling. But it may be a good thing to let ourselves be unpredictable from time to time, especially if we eventually settle back into a peaceful space of stability and authenticity when we’re done trying something new. We can choose to adopt the new direction or go back to how we usually do things, seeking calm and balance once again. Change can be good, whether temporary or permanent. It’s when we worry about change that we open ourselves up to stress, anxiety, fear, and sabotaging our happiness.
Matthew 6:28b-30a: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you?”
How amazing it is, the beautiful intricacy of nature! All creatures fit together into the tapestry of this world, even common flowers like lilies. What a blessing it is when we can simply “be”, when we can accept our place in the tapestry without worry.
When we see ourselves sliding off our normal course, we might feel as if we can’t trust ourselves, as if we’ve betrayed our true nature. But change doesn’t have to mean that we’re losing who we were before and turning into someone we won’t recognize. It’s possible that we’re only expanding who we already are.
I shared the story behind this painting in an April blog post called “Beauty of Time”. It was a long post and I shared a photo of my real life roses with you. I’m reminded of that today because here it is November and two of my plants have roses in bloom! It’s late in the season for this, but it’s the Deep South (Georgia, USA), so it’s not that surprising really. I was happy to see the beautiful deep red flowers.
I will probably have a new painting to share tomorrow if my day goes as planned. I finished some sewing projects today and caught up on some other things. I’m tired, so I’ll wrap this up. Good night, dear friends.
I painted this as an imaginary landscape, but it turns out that those red flowers are real, and I may soon have one in my possession! The flower looks remarkably like it to me, anyway. My daughter took a photo of a red flower that looks very similar to these red ones I painted and said that she always sees hummingbirds near those flowers on campus. Later, she texted that there will soon be a plant sale on campus. So we’re hoping that they’ll be selling those red flowers!
If not, we’ll track down where to buy them, and eventually we’ll have new red flowers for the hummingbirds. I love it when there’s a new surprise quest to find an elusive (elusive to me, the flower doesn’t seem uncommon for this area) new nature treasure. Sometimes my paintings seem to foreshadow future events in ways that are quite mysterious. In this case, it’s just a simple red flower that becomes a joyful treasure hunt and special memory with my daughter, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
When I one day have this red flower, I’ll take a picture of it- hopefully with a hummingbird near it at the same time. Small quests give us something to look forward to. The more quests we accept, the more we are given. When we expect to be surprised by serendipity and joyful connections, we are!
Did you have a restful Sunday? I hope that today you took time to reflect on the week ahead, and you’ve made productive, creative, and hopeful plans. Even if your plan is something simple, like spending 15 minutes outside each day, may you do what your heart tells you to do. God bless you and your family.
Watch this “Flower Angel” painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse)
You might remember that I shared this oil painting when I finished it at the beginning of May, while the promise of spring was still unfolding. And now here we are approaching the end of August and summer is soon ending. The time has gone by quickly, yet slowly… as time often does.
As summer leaves us I remember how grateful I was to see flowers and feel the sun upon my face when spring first came to us. Now that the heat and insects have made outdoor experiences unpleasant, and the flowers are mostly gone, I suppose we’re feeling ready for the change of seasons. But whether we are committed to it or not, autumn is near – at least it is in my part of the world.
With so much uncertainty, it is comforting to remember the sameness of seasons. Every year we experience twelve months, fifty-two weeks, and twenty four hours in each of those 365 days. Time passes, both quickly and slowly, and when it does we can look back with certainty that the time we spent is now in the past. Given all that we’ve been through since this time last year, we may be relieved to see the seasons slip forward.