When I was a young teen, I didn’t understand why receiving flowers from someone was so special. It’s a tradition that traverses an abundance of cultures, and I read somewhere that it traces way back to an eighteenth century Victorian practice called “floriography.” Flowers are universal, but I didn’t understand why. My stepmom once told me that I would understand when I was older, and I scoffed, as arrogant, callous thirteen-year-olds do.
Yesterday, in the midst of a stressful, unfulfilling shift at work, my boyfriend brought me flowers.
“What are these for?” I asked.
“I just wanted to do something for you.”
This is, by no means, the first time my boyfriend has given me flowers. Being the wonderful person he is, he gives me flowers for every special occasion–for the birthdays, the anniversaries, the holidays.
Yesterday, he just did it for me. And those were my favorite flowers so far.
I understand now. Flowers are a gift so simple, so beautiful, so natural, to say, “Thank you for being you.” In the midst of the stress, doubt, and sadness that inevitably meander into our societal lives, they are a soft reminder of the radiant innateness that makes all of us human.
Maybe these are the things in life that God wants us to pay the closest attention to–the things that never fail to give us comfort in a cruel world. It’s possible these things may even matter the most.
Like being consumed with laughter in the midst of great friends, and momentarily forgetting your troubles.
Or standing on top of a mountain, looking out over land that is untouched, yet breathtaking.
It’s sitting on the couch next to someone you love after a long, long day, enjoying that person’s company, and nothing else.
It’s hitting the peak of a run, hike, or workout, and feeling infinitely powerful.
It’s listening to a little kid talk about what they want to do when they grow up, and remembering that you can do anything, too.
Most of the time, I don’t understand life. But I understand flowers, so that’s a start.