When you go out of town, you don’t want to come home to a bowl full of rotten bananas. Bring them with you or give them to the neighbors, but don’t leave them sitting in the kitchen. I don’t have a lot of travel tips to offer, but I feel good about that one.
So we didn’t leave anything much in the kitchen when we took our kids on a road trip last month. The only problem with that plan is you might come home hungry. Apparently people still want to eat meals, even after vacations.
“Okay!” my husband said, standing in front of the empty pantry. “What do we need at the grocery store?”
The obvious answer was, “Everything.”
The thing I said was, “We’re going to need some flowers.” Because I knew what next few days would look like.
They would look like managed chaos, only without the “managed” part. There would be worn-out kids and travel-weary parents, and an obstacle course of jackets and suitcases and odd souvenirs to negotiate. Some of us would be back to work, some of us would be back to learning, and one of us would be back to being a toddler. (One of us never stopped being a toddler.)
I get stuck in the details, on days like that. I look around at the backpacks to unpack and the mountain of laundry to wash and the missing toothbrushes to find (where did they GO?) and I think this is all there is.
Well, I think, the world is all turned to chaos and crankiness now. I might as well go back to bed and stay there for the rest of my life.
This just seems really reasonable to me.
That’s why I need the flowers.
They’re not there to distract me from the six pairs of mud-encrusted shoes in my hallway. They’re there because every time I look up from making another peanut butter sandwich and see those flowers on the counter, I remember: there is beauty all around us, and it does not depend on me and my circumstances.
There are times we get to create beauty in our lives and through our lives… and then there are other times. Some days are just full of ordinary, everyday overwhelm. Some days don’t feel like a reflection of something beautiful.
That’s why I needed the flowers.
I needed to invite the beauty back in.
I needed to remember that it’s okay if I feel inadequate for the meal-making and floor sweeping and conflict negotiating. I don’t have to hold everything together. I can’t even make the flowers grow, but there they are anyway, in all their sweet-smelling glory.
And I needed to remember that the flowers didn’t work really hard to become beautiful. They just grew.
I’m just growing, too.
The messy days will pass away just like the flowers will wilt and fade in my kitchen. But new ones are already sprouting up in the fields.
I’m going to invite them in. (And I’m still going to try to keep rotten bananas out.)