It finally happened last year– I went to look in the mirror and saw my mother. I thought about how swiftly life can zoom past while we are in the fast lane, but when we move over to the slow lane, we get a glimpse of the rearview mirror. Flowers and quilts come to mind. The next time you pass a flower, entirely in bloom, standing in all its glory, stop, and drink in its perfume and vibrancy because it will fade, but so will we. From the red velvet petals of the rose to the lemony yellow buttercups, each flower will have its moment when it stands proudly at attention, marching out in all its glory.
And so will we.
First things first– the flower. A tiny seed encased in a hard coat gets pushed down into the dark soil. A tiny sprout, a tiny leaf, a tiny stem, and a tiny birth has happened. Picture a baby in the womb coming out of darkness into the marvelous light of life. Our environment can be dangerous. Some seeds need to go through fire to survive. Some seeds need more nutrients and more light. It’s the same way with us.
Plants and flowers are all different and have different needs. Some plants are early bloomers, and a small bud of a flower may appear after a few days, but other plants can take years to bloom. I was one of those plants.
I started college at thirty. I became comfortable in my skin in my forties, and in my 50’s, I have started to learn boundaries and self-care. I think by my 60’s, I will be able to see my beauty as the Father does and the beauty of others. This seems backwards because it is in our 30’s and 40’s that most would consider their prime, but its our soul and spirit that needs to bloom. If we only are concerned with the outside appearance, we will never have a pleasing aroma.
A flower buds. It may have already formed completely, but we like it, stay tightly closed up and protected until that moment when we, like the flower, open up and presents ourselves to the Father and the world. Hello World! It’s a great day to be alive. Think caterpillar becoming a beautiful butterfly.
One of the saddest things I have ever witnessed, is to be like a flower in bloom and having no one take notice or validate you. Alice Walker said this in the book The Color Purple. “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see its always trying to please us back.”
Notice your spouse.
Notice your children.
Notice your dearest friends.
See the sweet spirit in your pets and yes, inhale a flower in bloom. Celebrate the gifts and accomplishments in others. Another famous quote, “Don’t forget to smell the flowers,” is very needed today with hustle, covid, social media and time thieves. Stop and notice Abba Father’s Creation.
Older flowers can still reproduce. Moses was said to be 80 years young when he was given his assignment to free God’s people from slavery. Henry Ford invented his model T when he was 45, Vera Wang became a famous designer at 40, and Julia Child wrote her first cookbook at 50. No matter what age you are right now, in the morning you will be closer to death than before. No one gets out alive. No one gets a free pass from the judgement seat, both the good and the bad we have done. We reach our 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, and the vibrant colors– the sweet-smelling fragrance are starting to fade. The red velvet petals turn pale and begin to drop. The limbs begin to lack strength, and before we know it, we realize we are a flower fading fast– here today and gone tomorrow.
So how do we deal with this later stage, this golden era? At times it can be difficult. You see youth in others and vitality, and you realize that when you had it, you were not even aware of its worth and more so if you have health issues. But something else happens, you begin to appreciate life. You notice the small things, and you appreciate the time others give you. You notice the wonder in the birth of a baby. You see the miracle of creation, and you begin to realize that all your years and all your situations helped create you like a quilt that was hand pieced by the Creator.
My aunt Reedafaye, makes quilts. She has won several awards for her quilts and has many ideas for different types of patterns she would love to create. When I last spoke with her at her home, she explained a vision she had of a quilt that was intricate in detail and involved flowers, a garden, and a brick pathway. She has the vision in her mind, all ready for what she wants to create. She can pick up a scrap of material that you and I would see nothing special in and know exactly how to use it with another piece to make a tree’s bark or a robin’s nest. To us, the scraps may not look like much, but to her, it’s a collaboration of colors and patterns and shapes, forming one elaborate piece of collaged beauty. A quilt of many colors.
The potter makes out of the clay a vessel of his liking. We live and breathe and have our day under the sun. Some days are wonderous, and other days it’s as if creosote has been smeared upon our fabric. Our quilts become dirty, sticky, dragged through the muck, or worse, tucked away in a closet with mothballs, considered old and outdated, and antiquated. On other days, our quilts are spread out for a picnic; young lovers cuddle up, warm babies tucked in tightly, a fire lit, a bed dressed, a table spread, a beautiful patchwork of warmth waiting for someone to notice the detailed stitching and vivid colors, patterns, amongst the threads that are coming apart, the backing peeking out and a frazzled edge exposing cotton. There are laugh lines and smile lines and places where sagging has taken place from a toddler tugging on our hems, and the fragrance of all the hands and feet and breaths that breathed into our fabric, sharing in the warmth of our quilted soul.
Yes, multiple hands mend our tattered edges, and we, in our later years, are still able to be a shelter from the cold for someone. The patterns repeated and passed down to those whose tiny feet slept atop its cloth.
Shine in your colorful purple silks and when you’ve begun to fade, find warmth in your soft, worn touch, your lingering scent, and all the hands that folded you and found a piece to connect to your patterns and your beauty and stitched themselves along your heart.
Bloom, in your moment, and for Pete Sake, SMELL THE FLOWERS!