The peonies are blooming. This morning, I heard the driveway monitor go off three times and realized that Daniel was out picking peonies. Sometimes he picks them to take to his office to put some color and scent there, but this morning, he was picking them for me. He brought them in, a gathering of the three colors that grow at Shady Acres, and I found a vase to put them in, and set them in the middle of the dining room table. As I was arranging them, I suddenly remembered another spring, eighteen years ago, and an incident that happened that I put into my journal. I thought I would share it with you this morning.
Her Daddy loves growing things. Along our walk and hither and yon, he has planted peonies. They grow on his mother’s grave and he loves their lavish colors and extavagant fragrance.
She is our youngest; twenty months of energy, smiles and personality. Like her daddy, she loves growing things. She has just discovered that peonies have flowers and flowers have smell. I am working in the flower bed beside the house tonight, and she is fighting a losing battle with wanting to pick the posies.
The buds are nearly ready to burst. The plants are loaded. “One flower more or less won’t matter,” I tell myself as her little fingers begin to dismantle a bud. She works industriously to free some petals and beaming, toddles over to me. Proudly, she shows me her handful of crumpled flower petals, smells them with long, effusive breaths, and then holds them up for me to smell.
At first, I smell but sweaty baby hand, but then the haunting, lingering smell of spring peonies comes bravely through.
I watch her glowing face, think of our delight in this child, and think of my Heavenly Father. Far better than I is He at seeing the beauty and smelling the fragrance in the broken petals I bring to him. Some of it has been done in innocence, as my toddler’s joyous exploration of life reminds me.
But some of it has not been so innocent or carefree. Yet this Father of Love can take what has been lost beyond repair and accept what brokenness I have to offer him, and love me and give me hope. He smells the fragrance when others cannot. His love for me transforms something worthless into a thing of great treasure.