Lessons from a Ginger-Lily

Walking into the back yard last Saturday morning, I noticed it immediately.  The contrast of the bright orange bloom to the green grass was so vivid that I had to see why such a glorious flower was growing in the middle of the yard, several feet from the flower garden.  As I got closer and could see the long green stalk, it began to make sense:  one of my tall, beautiful Ginger lilies had toppled over.  However, about eight inches of the very top was bent at a 90 degree angle from the ground, as if the bloom, by sheer force of will, was trying to pull the plant upright again.  It’s predicament tugged at my heartstrings….it was as if this beautiful plant were telling me that, despite the apparent doom of the situation, it was alive and well, and holding up its bright orange flag in victory.

I took several pictures of my poor, persistent little friend, and began weeding my neglected flower garden.  It wasn’t long before I got to the area where my ginger lilies were planted, and discovered the lesson I was meant to learn.   It hadn’t been very long since I had worked in the garden, yet the weeds were horrible….and not just weeds, but the bamboo that I had literally been trying to kill for years was trying to choke the life out of my beautiful lilies.   I became struck by the fact that, despite all the obstacles that my flowers were facing, they continued to grow strong and tall.  It suddenly became clear to me that this is a metaphor for our lives.  I thought of the many obstacles we have faced over the years:  things that would have hampered our growth as individuals and as a couple, and realized that we have managed to stand tall.

Apparently my lesson was not over, because, in my haste to put everything into the wheelbarrow, I broke the stem where it had bent at its victorious 90 degree angle.   I looked at it and felt so helpless…my poor lily was trying to be so strong, yet I had broken it.   I began to think about my husband, and how this had to be a metaphor for how he must feel at times.  Watching me in times of my own weakness, and knowing that his illness is the source of so much stress, must have him feeling utterly helpless.   I hurt for him in that moment, and began to search for meaning…if I can remember this feeling when I’M feeling down, maybe I can change how I act during those times.

As I post this, there has been no epiphany.  I do, however, have two pictures:  one of my beautiful fallen lily, and the other of the beloved bloom perched in a beautiful bud vase.  For now, they will be my reminder of all we have stood for and lived through, and the commitment I have made to be gentle to his soul.

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