My husband and I have lived in our present house for 25 years. During that time my husband has planted and grown some memorable flowers in our garden and along the back fence. He has done wonders with lovely day lilies and evening primroses, gentle wild geraniums, multicolored zinnias and the huge purple clematis blossoms that climb up the white trellis lining the walkway from our garage to the back porch. But in those 25 years I have never once picked a bouquet of peonies. I mean, they have been there but the bushes are small and the blooms open quietly in early June and before I know it they are drooping their heavy floppy heads and I’ve basically just forgotten or ignored them.
Maybe I disregarded them all these years because they are small bushes and have never even come close to the bushes I remember on the farm where I lived with my family during my elementary school years. The house was old and unpainted but, in contrast, every June the gigantic peony bushes, probably 4 or 5 of them would burst into bloom and become a beacon of outrageous beauty all along the front of the house…the first thing you’d see as you drove up the lane. Their image has stayed in my memory for these many years.
But the peonies here have not been quite as spectacular. They’ve been small but, to give them a bit of credit, they have bloomed! Sometimes only one lone flower has popped up and out but before I know it, she finds herself bent over, her lovely head touching her toes, covered in dirt. And I missed her.
On Instagram @mamawatters encourages us to “be rooted in the moment of now.” And it makes me wonder what I am missing today because I’m sending my roots everywhere distracted by many things like Martha getting ready in the kitchen while Mary sits at Jesus’ feet. Mary had no worries about food or preparations. She was rooted in the moment and drinking in the tangible, heavy, presence of Jesus.
I’m sure Martha was listening from the kitchen, as she boiled the couscous, gathered up olives and chopped tomatoes. As she wiped up the table you can be sure she heard snippets of Jesus’s words. But her irritation and distraction kept her from taking them in, savoring them, or letting them go deep. She missed much because she was too busy to make the moment matter and fully find the treasures it had for her. I don’t know about you, but I can relate.
Not noticing or being too busy to pay attention to my peony’s meager offering, is small stuff compared to not sitting at Jesus’ feet. But is it really? What other ways has Jesus been present that I have let pass because I had to get supper on the table? What surprises have I not recognized as meant for me?
Stopping to take in even a sip of the beauty he has given, is like sitting at his feet and breathing in his wisdom for this moment . It’s like hearing his voice and opening the door. It’s like settling by quiet waters, knowing he is near.
For some reason, in this peony season, I stopped. I noticed those sweet bushes in the back yard and I ran out with my knife and captured a few for our breakfast table. Every day I have been feasting on them, finding joy in their simple presence and embracing them as one (of many) tangible ways God has expressed his love for me.
May we all be rooted in the moment of now and not miss the unique ways God reveals himself in the beauty he has planted all around us. Whether it be that butterfly floating around a flower, the blue sky with puffy white clouds, or a shy little goldfinch perched nearby with it’s little golden eye on us… or even the bright pink peonies leaning from a tiny bush in the back yard.
Do you think we can keep our eyes open today and come upon something that shouts “notice me! I’m your little surprise from God!”
I loved those huge purply red blossoms with ants crawling everywhere all over the bushes in my old farm yard. I imagine that we picked many bouquets every year from all the bushes and brought them in and feasted on their scrumptious messy beauty. That would have been a way to send down those roots of the moment, recognize them as gifts, and savor them just a bit longer.