Remembering so many of Dad’s gardening tips he shared over the years, I pulled up every weed from around the patio this morning. Here in Michigan, it’s that time of year again when we spend hundreds of dollars for flowers that live only a few short months.
Careful not to pull up the perennials I planted last year, I yanked every tall, short, wide, and skinny weed I could. I dug up the soil and prepared it for new flowers that would last only for a few months, but would provide for a gorgeous patio to sit on while reflecting on my day.
“Shake the bottom of the weeds real hard” Dad would say. “Get all of that good, rich soil back into the ground that you can.” He was a perfectionist when it came to his lawn and flowers, and he passed his skills on to me. Not a spring passes that I don’t spend a couple of hours thinking about him while I’m down on my knees, hands in the dirt, digging holes, and shaking the soil off the roots of old weeds.
This morning, not only was I pulling weeds up, but also last year’s annual flowers, which between moving one son to Chicago for college, and the other getting married, I was apparently too busy to pull! But this morning, that was okay with me, for although it may have created twice as much work, those old dead flowers ended up sharing a little snippet of wisdom with me as well.
I had the most beautiful Gerber daisies last year, in every color, making my patio a bright and happy place to just sit and enjoy some sunshine. But those old Gerber daisies were not very pretty this morning. As I remembered how beautiful they were last year, I began also to realize how reflective this was of the different relationships we have throughout our lives.
Some friendships are meant to last forever, and just as there are different times of years that perennial plants turn different colors, providing different types of beauty during all times of the year, so are the longest, most cherished friendships in our lives. I thought about my dear friend Claudette. Our lives have been so similar at times during the years of our friendship. At other times, we are doing completely different things. But I always think of her, and I know she thinks of me too. Sometimes, I see her weekly. Other times, months may go by when we keep in touch by phone and email, but the beauty of our friendship NEVER changes.
Those cute little Gerber daisies are adorable too. But they don’t last for very long. Their season is “complete” when autumn arrives. Some friendships are like this as well. They are beautiful while they last, and provide much needed joy in our lives. But when the season for that friendship is “complete,” we have a choice to make.
I like to use the word “complete” because it means that whatever God meant to do in that friendship, He had “completed.” I believe “complete” much more accurately describes His work, than “over,” “ended,” or “finished,” which all seem to suggest failure. Some of the seasonal friendships I have had over the years, have been some of the most fun, valuable, and sweet, and they have provided me with the most opportunity to learn and grow as a woman.
I don’t think continuously about how unattractive last year’s dead flowers are. I remember the good times on my summer patio had with those I love, while enjoying the summer colors of my hot pink Gerber daisies.
We can do the same thing with friendships that are “seasonal” and come to “completeness.” I can cherish the memories, laugh over good times, and remember with fondness the beauty of a friendship that ended up being a “seasonal” one.
Seasonal flowers are just as pretty as my perennials. So are our friendships all worth remembering in this way. Just because a friendship is seasonal, doesn’t make it any less valuable.
But remembering it’s beauty is a choice. I hope you always choose to see the beauty in all things “complete.”