Recently, a friend who is going through a very difficult time said to me “The hills and valleys of life help us appreciate the flat spots.” How right she is as we travel through rough patches in our lives, it is good to remember that life is a journey, not a destination, a process, not a product.
Some of you might not know that I love art. I love painting, drawing, arranging flowers, welding, and taking photos. When, I look back at my photos over the years there are a couple of themes that appear frequently. One is my fascination with flowers growing in the roughest terrain. It has amazed me since childhood that a flower can sprout up in the narrowest slit of concrete or asphalt. I remember stopping on a walk with my mom as we walked down the sidewalk. I must have been quite young, because we were holding hands. I stood there in amazement at a little yellow flower supported by a short stem and accompanied by beautiful green leaves all alone smiling up from a small crack in the sidewalk. I am sure we were on an errand, to pay the electric bill, pick up a prescription or go to the bank, but for the life of me I can’t remember where we were going that day. I just recall the feeling of her warm soft hand in mine, as we stopped for a second and admired this little miracle. There wasn’t another flower, or patch of grass for that matter, for yards and yards.
I asked my mom about how this was possible. How could a small delicate flower push its way through the hard rough concrete from the dark into the light? She just explained that given the slightest bit of water, and a glimmer of light, the littlest seed becomes strong enough to overcome its meager or rocky surroundings and survive, even share its strength and beauty with the world. I don’t have a picture of that day, only the one in my head. However, I have the one here that I took on a recent trip to California. I share it with you as a reminder that sometimes beauty is small and fragile, like life, and you must embrace that beauty when it is offered, but it is all around us. We just have to take time to look for it and acknowledge it. Thanks Mom for taking the time all those years ago to show me a glimpse of beauty in that moment together.