Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Perspective on Peonies

 When I first began flower gardening,
I thought there were four kinds of peonies:
light pink,
hot pink,
and red.

 But I was mistaken.

Peonies actually have names,
lots of them,
quite probably hundreds of them:
Shirley Temple,
Raspberry Sundae,
Feather Top,
Candy Heart,
Dr. Alexander Fleming,
Krinkled White,
Madame Butterfly,
Sword Dance...

Peonies are somewhat like people:
we all seem the same.

Yet, there are so many differences:
different growth rates and bloom times,
heights and colors,
physical traits;
but also

We're all going through life,
changing along the way.
 This is my favorite peony called
Coral Charm: it's a beautiful bright peach color...

 that fades each day...

 til it finally gets so light
that it almost looks yellow

before it's petals drift off in tired retreat.

One thing I feel like I am constantly learning in life
is to cease from assumption.

Assumption: BAD.

 I tend to think I'm right about something or someone
and then find out
I'm terribly wrong.

 For instance,
I ran into an acquaintance who has also gotten into
the business of a roadside market for
his home-grown plants.

 We got sharing advice and knowledge,
when he informed me that I needed to purchase
a certificate from the state to sell my plants.

 It was not a huge sum of money,
but it kept slipping my mind,
although he mentioned it to me again
about two more times after that when I ran into him,
wondering if I had gotten it yet.

Not long after, I thought of the situation,
and asked another friend
who had also started a similar business.
She gave the advice that she wouldn't pursue something like that
unless they came to you and told you it was needed.
It was just that way with this type of thing.
I have high respect for her,

 So I let it go.

One morning I heard the dog barking
and looked out to see a man with a clipboard heading toward the house,
and when I got out to the porch,
he informed me of the mentioned certificate and my need for it.

After he went about inspecting my plants
(he was very kind and almost seemed apologetic)
he handed me the paperwork,
and I handed him the check.

When I questioned him about all this,
he informed me that my business is small
and wouldn't normally be on his agenda to pursue,
but somebody had complained that I didn't have my certificate
and this forced him to have to confront me on it.

I think we may all safely assume that we know who did it.
Who else,
but this acquaintance
who had reminded me that I needed it
and had purchased his without having to be prompted?

 The anger began to mount in my soul,
not because of the cost
but because my "friend" had gotten so bothered by my lack of effort
that he had taken the time to call
and turn me in.

 I did what any sane woman would do:
I called my husband and began to spout vehemently on the phone
about what this unbelievable, unnerving mud parasite had had the nerve to do.

 My husband,
being the level-headed member of the family,
told me I needed to call and ask the "offender."
False accusation was an abhorrent situation.

Should I?

 What would I say when he admitted it?
Lots of choice things
came to mind...

but I knew that wasn't how God wanted me to act.
I knew,
but really?

What I wanted to say was bubbling on the tip of my tongue,
and what I thought I should say
was in there somewhere,
bouncing off the walls of my anger-intoxicated brain.

 I waited til calm was in my grip,
many sensible prayers later,
and then dialed the number
asked the dreaded question:
"Did you..."

 And the answer...

 does that really matter?

Should my response be any different I wonder,
if I am offended at some one's simple "betrayal" of me?

Will it do any good for me to foam
and froth,
and let the bitterness fester in my soul?

But of course,
I can't really tell you that.

Because the answer was a resounding 

"No!  Of course not,
We would never do that to you."

I knew that he didn't;
and now I felt like the mud parasite.
I had stood at the precipice of false-accusation
and now turned to see...
a garden of delicate peonies,
a myriad of shapes and colors
and different stages of change and growth in life.

And I was ever so thankful:

that I had called my husband,
and had dealt with the issues,
good or bad as they might have been...

and that I now held in my hands:

a valuable lesson in life.


  1. This post is as nearly perfect as it gets.

    Your presentation is every bit as good as your message. (And that's saying a lot!!)


  2. I fall into that assumption trap more often than I want to admit. Great lesson and beautifully presented.

  3. Gorgeous flowers. I would love to have peonies in the yard. Stopping by from Tracy's.

  4. What a blessing you are to everyone who reads your mini devotionals.. I love your Peonies,also

  5. I love the Peonies and your favorite is (now) my favorite. It is so lovely! What do you do to keep the blossoms from falling to the ground though. Mine are always so heavy and end up on the ground the day after they've bloomed. disheartens me so! Thank you for sharing your story about the "certificate." I've been at the cusp of those types of situations more times than I care to mention here. It is a very difficult position to be in. I like your perspective on it. I also wanted to mention my love of your many different bracelets. As I went through the Peony pictures I noticed a different bracelet in each of them. Those too are lovely. Have a beautiful day and thank you for sharing from your heart.

  6. I never knew there were so many peonies either. They are all so beautiful. My elderly neighbor lady had one when I was growing up and I was always fascinated by it. Thanks for sharing your story and beautiful photos.

  7. What beautiful flowers! I enjoyed your story. I took a second to think about any assumptions I have made recently, and what I should do about them. Thanks for your post!

  8. WOW!!! I came to look at the beautiful pictures you linked up at Tracy's Photo Party and got a wonderful message in the process. THANK YOU! This blog post is bookmarked and filed away for some future time that I know I'll need/want to use it on my kids, friends, family, whomoever I need it for. =)

  9. What a great post! Beautiful pictures and a wonderful message! Thank you!

  10. Visiting from Hip Homeschool. Beautiful pictures and such an important lesson. How quick I am to respond in anger. I often am angry about little things, forgetting how much I've been forgiven for. Thanks!

  11. I love your pictures and the way that you presented your lesson!

    I'm visiting from Hip Homeschool Hop. I'm looking forward to readind more posts!


  12. Very true... Beautiful post. I'm visiting from the Hop and can't wait for my late Maine peonies to bloom :)


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