Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Consider the Peonies

Do you have peonies blooming where you live? Do they look anything like this?

This is what they looked like all over town today, after last night's rainstorm. I'd say their time is done.

Peonies have always struck me as a rather tragic lot.

No, seriously.

They burst forth in the early summer with big, bright, bold blossoms, full of promise and beauty, ready to glorify their creator with all of their splendor. Then, with the very first shower of rain, they bend and droop down low, unable to lift their heavy heads again under the weight of the little drops of water left upon them. Even with moderate support, they droop. Though they grow together as a bush, it seems that only vigilant care and individual staking of each flower could prevent this from happening.

The sad thing is that they never really recover from this. Even after the rain passes and the water dries, they just can't seem to lift their heads. They just spend the rest of the brief time they have to bloom upon the earth in this sad state, a big, brilliant array of petals facing downward, until they finally wither and fall off in the later storms.

After the first rain, I always cut and gather a few, gently shaking off the droplets of water, so that instead of following the path of the others outside, they can live out their days doing this in my kitchen:

Looking at them today, it occured to me that peonies kind of remind me of... myself.

How easily I take on lies, allowing them to sit on my petals instead of shaking them off! They come as little droplets from the constant shower of whispered thoughts that rush through my head. With an accumulation of surprisingly few drops, I'm soon hanging my sorry head, looking nothing like the blooming creation I was designed to be. Even with other blooms and low stakes supporting me loosely, sometimes I cannot seem to recover.

I do not want to spend my vapor of a life defeated, falling apart, and not living up to the beautiful promise that has been placed within me by God's mercy! I need to be aware of the showers and the power of just a few drops. I need to shake off each little drop when it lands. I need firm staking supporting me, and to wholly cling to it when I become burdened with lies.

Jenni, at One Thing, wrote about this battle of the mind and spirit just the other day, punctuating it with a stunning video. I encourage you to take a few moments to watch it. As she mentions, these church dramatizations can sometimes be a little schmaltzy, yet the striking visual image has such a powerful effect. I have BEEN that young woman in the presentation. I could feel the emotions vividly with her-- the pain of realizing that you have been slowly lulled, deceived and trapped in a pit deeper than you ever imagined was there, being yanked and pulled and mocked, desperately wanting to get back, yet ultimately powerless to do so on your own... I don't ever want to be her again.

I am so grateful that there is a loving gardener who mercifully cuts me from my bowing stem and gently shakes off the clinging droplets, who will provide me with the water and sunshine I so desperately need to live and bloom, and who graciously allows me a place in his house where I might again have the opportunity to bring glory and pleasure to him, the one who valued and rescued me.


Jenni said...

Oh AMEN. **Great** analogy! I love peonues and yet have often wished they weren't so blasted feeble...as I have often wished of myself, come to think of it.

Thank you for the linkage, and for the encouragement!

Rocks In My Dryer said...

Marian, this is beautiful. I needed to read it.

Owlhaven said...

Great post, Marian! how true