Two gardenia plants snuggle up against my home outside the window facing the patio. I can see them from where I write. Recently, the tips of their leaves turned a sickly brown and large areas of stem lost their foliage altogether.
“What’s wrong with these plants?” My husband muttered.
“I don’t know. Maybe they’re getting too much sun. I think I’m going to cut them way back.” I replied.
The days sped by and I forgot about the brown leaves and the long bald stems. Then yesterday while watering the patio plants, I noticed new blossoms on the plants. I bent down and tenderly took one of the velvety white flowers in my hand and breathed in the intoxicating scent.
“Oh how I love that smell!” I sighed.
My next thought was “I’m sure glad I didn’t trim off the brown leaves and ugly long stems.”
I sacrificed two of the blooms to dry in silica gel for a vintage piece I’m envisioning: perhaps a poem, nostalgic photo, and a dried gardenia flower accent. Gardenia blossoms dry with an ivory hue that is perfect for vintage art.
This morning I’m thinking about how my ongoing discontent is like those bald stems and browned leaves. My impatience over not being able to know the future like a fortune teller annoys me. I’m often tempted to cut off a difficult opportunity for growth when my enthusiasm wanes.
Recently, I’ve wrestled with an uncharacteristically large amount of frustration and discouragement. Doubt rolls in like morning fog over a coastal town.
“God,” I argue, “How can I possibly learn how to write a nonfiction book proposal. It’s too hard for me. I don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle. I don’t know what to do next. I’m overwhelmed!”
Then a thought breaks through my mental grey like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day, “Would you dare to let me lead you one day at a time?”
Wow! What a novel idea. A life application for what my Mom regularly reminds me of, “JoDee, you need to live like an alcoholic, ‘One day at a time.'”
So I got to thinking, “How would I conduct my life differently if I decided that I don’t have to have all the answers before I proceed. In fact, just for today, I’m going to trust God to lead me to the information, people, and processes I need in order to put another piece of my destiny into place.”
Like the gardenia plants outside my window, my writing will eventually blossom even though there are brown times that crackle with frustration.
I like thinking this way. It’s freeing. I can set aside my obsessive need for control. I can banish self-loathing when I don’t reach those ridiculously high expectations I set for myself. Just for today, I will whisper “thank you” when something beautiful my way comes.