We came home from moving Youngest Daughter to Philadelphia on Saturday to find that Middle Daughter had picked peonies for the table. They looked great there, and the aroma is heady. Within a few days, the petals began to drop. Once that happens, I’m often tempted to just be done with it all, and throw them out. But life at Shady Acres in these past few weeks has made me think in terms of seeing beauty in the things that mark the end of things as we know it or want it.
The flowers of our lives add so much to the quality of of our days. I stood on the front porch of my Sweet Mama’s house yesterday. Mama has had a tough, tough Spring. And the ongoing inconveniences of aging trouble her –as they do us all. The day had been full of more unwanted interference and precautions. It was just a hard day for her — and consequently, for me. I took a moment to regroup on the front porch when I went out to retrieve the mail. Bobby had given her a gorgeous hanging basket of lavender petunias for Mother’s day. The day was sweetly cool and a breeze caught that incredibly sweet scent and tossed it around like the memories in my head of simpler days and happier times. I felt a rush of childlike joy as the flowers danced in the lazy wind. So blessed.
Last week, I worked at weeding the hedge row. The peonies and roses were competing with wire grasses and a strange invasive weed and Delaware’s crazy chickweed. The roses are so beautiful, but the thorns were unmerciful. My arms were caught by their obscure menacing, and there are unsightly scratches and even gouges on my arm. More than once I was surprised by a trickle of blood adding itself to the age spots on these arms of mine that no longer look “young.”
I mentioned moving Youngest Daughter. I was going to chronicle this move, thinking we would make happy memories. I got a good start:
. . .but I lost heart. There is so much excitement with moving a child forward in life, knowing that plans are coming to fruition, and that God has been leading and directing and providing.
But there is a poignancy as well, and I have felt this niggling sadness hanging over my heart.
Shadows fall on brightest hours.
And the petals fall onto the tablecloth.
“Oh, Lord Jesus! Let me remember the beauty. Let Joy be a wellspring in my heart.”