I felt the anxiety welling up inside as we pulled out of the driveway for a long weekend away. All over Instagram were gorgeous photos of Peonies, beautifully styled photos, and ours were just starting to bloom. "I know they are all going to bloom this weekend while we are gone and I'm not going to get to photograph them, style them or even enjoy them."
It's been exactly 5 years since we signed the papers and got the keys to our little Burnt Orange Mid Century Mod House. In those five years, we've completed MANY MANY projects, but my most favorite outside addition was the two peony bushes that we planted out front.
Every year since we planted them, I wait in anticipation to see how many blooms I will get that year. I panic and obsess over them. I fear that if I don't cut them all and bring them all inside that I'm going to waste them. One year, I even went as far as to try and put them in the fridge and save them for months later. But as I was showering the other day, I had this crystalizing epiphany.
Which is where the "Parable of the Peonies" came from. There were two maidens, both with gorgeous gardens full of Peonies of various colors. The first maiden would wait with anticipation as her garden blossomed. She would obsess about trying to make sure that she enjoyed every second of her garden, to the point that is caused her so much stress that she spent the entire time worrying she was missing it. She would anxiously plan out things to do with her flowers, photo shoots, social media posts, but then she would blink, and just like that the flowers had died and she forgot to enjoy the beauty that she was blessed with.
The second maiden, like the first, waited with anticipation for the joy that these gorgeous blooms would bring to her, and with pruning sheers in hand, she snipped a few stems for herself to enjoy inside. The sight & fragrance of the flowers brought her heart so much joy & as she looked over the bushes, she saw so many flowers and realized that there was no way should keep these all to herself. So she snipped a few more, wrapped them up, and decided to make a few deliveries to others who she knew would enjoy their beauty as well. Because when the day is done and the flowers die (as they always do), you will be left with nothing. But using something as simple as a flower to spread love, joy & friendship to those around you, that's a way to make them last far longer.
I'm learning to work on that whole contentment, & living in the moment thing and in case you were wondering, I haven't quite figured it out just yet, but I'm trying. Maybe it's the photographer in me, or the fact that I'm sadly too obsessed with social media, but I never feel like I can truly live in the moment if I'm not able to take photo documentation of said moment.
Have you seen this photo of the sweet little old lady enjoying the moment, as everyone around her is feverishly trying to document every second with their phones? It was like a punch to the gut for me, because it's easy for me to be one of those people looking at life through the lens of my iPhone. But when was the last time that you sat back, put away the phone, and enjoyed life as it was actually unfolding, minute by minute, and truly felt content with the season of life that you were in. Not telling yourself, well if I could just get to this point I would be okay. If I could just declutter the whole house, and get everything clean, maybe I won't feel so crazy. If I could just lose 20 pounds, maybe I'll be happier.
There will always be goals to accomplish, laundry to wash, a house to clean, but there will never be another day just like today, so enjoy where you are and share your joy with those around you. Life isn't about the things you have, its about the relationships you build, the legacy of love that you create, and the ability to love others the way that Jesus loves us.