Sometimes we think something or someone has gone away forever only to discover the seeds of what was planted are still alive, waiting to bloom.
Last July when we moved into our new home our dear friends Rebekah and Ricardo brought us a beautiful, white orchid as a housewarming gift. I’m a plant junkie. I love all plants and flowers, pretty much anything green. But, orchids are magical flowers that I have never been able to keep alive. They are exquisite and delicate, and before last week, I thought they were too magical for me. I have never been able to successfully keep an orchid alive and once my orchid lost its blooms and withered to brown, I felt sad and disappointed that I wasn’t able to care for it in the way it deserved. I wasn’t able to maintain the magic.
I kept this dead orchid in my kitchen window at first out of remorse, but then I simply stopped noticing that it was dead. I forgot about it, really. This poor orchid was given no water, no attention, no time. It just stayed in the window near the light.
A couple of days ago while doing the dishes I glanced up and was shocked by what I saw. The dead orchid had bloomed! It was fabulous and had baby blooms ready to burst into life. It was absolutely beautiful in its symmetric complexity and unfolding. I was so excited I called my husband James over to see this magnificence. I wanted him to be in awe with me, and he was. I was puzzled trying to figure out how a dead orchid had been reborn out of nothing. Or was there always something and I just didn't notice?
The more I reflect on this magical orchid, the more I understand the lesson the universe gifted me. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking during this 49th year of my life and I honestly thought that some parts of myself, especially some parts of my youth, were officially gone, dead. Not in a sad, I want to kill myself way, but in a longing, nostalgic way of what was beautiful that will never be again.
This orchid made me question my assumption that certain parts of myself were truly dead. Maybe there are parts that we simply allow to go dormant, but they don't ever truly die. Maybe they just sit waiting, ready to bloom at the right time in the right light. Maybe the old stem had to die for the new one to be born.
As I sit here at my writing desk I feel a sense of excitement and optimism as I notice my new, 50 year-old stem coming to life within me. Right now it’s small and very green, but it’s there and I see it, and I don’t need to do a darn thing about it. I don’t need to force it. I don’t need to worry about it. All I need to do is know, with a deep unwavering knowing, that it is progressing as it should, when it should. No amount of “efforting” will make it grow faster. All it needs is from me is to let the light in.
And to bring this lesson home, last night my youngest Jaron pulled out a photo album and showed me a photo of my mom at 50. It was a picture of her 50th birthday party and Jaron thought it was funny that this photo popped out because I will be 50 this year. I sat and stared at my mother’s beautiful face, and for a second couldn’t believe she was then where I am now. And someday I will be where she is now. And I wondered what dormant stems within her never bloomed and which did.
I am hoping you too may recognize a dormant stem within that is waiting to bloom. Just get out of your own way and let the light in.
Trying to love every moment, and being ok when I don’t,
Cheers to never getting it done, and never worrying about getting it perfect.