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.
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4 Replies to “When something beautiful my way comes…”
Jodi, when I started reading this piece and reading of your frustration and discouragement I just felt like saying Jodi, would it be too difficult for you to just ‘be’?. Just to breathe in God and just exhale life? Then as I read more I felt like maybe you were getting it after all. I think we put too many expections on ourselves and we miss that God wants us to just ‘be’ and enjoy Him and enjoy being His creation. If you don’t get to do all the things you want to do and experience all that you want to experience will that make life and heaven less sweet? Just a thought.
I think sometimes I feel like I have to make up for lost time, all those difficult years that I spent just trying to survive and get my kids through school. Now that the nest is empty, I have so many dreams that I’ve had to stifle for so long. But you are right, there is a rest in Him that I need to remain in regardless of whether I get to play catch up. Thank you for your thoughts. I have always respected you and of course, you and Mike have played such an important role in my spiritual pilgrimage.
It is those times of “discontent” that have pushed me forward to not be complacent in my life! It has actually catapulted me to amazing things in fact! I think it is Gods way of pushing us “baby boomer” types forward into his plans for us. I personally appreciate when this happens…..yes one day at a time…..and thank you God for the times I feel “discontented” because I know there is a very good reason why! Love you my dear friend! B
I have had the privelege of seeing those “amazing things” unfold in your life!