lessons learned: the willow

Last night, I stopped by the store to pick up a couple of things, and after a week filled with cracked windshields, missing legal documents and unexpected snow, I was pretty much done, and it was only Tuesday.

As a morale boost, I decided to treat myself to some flowers.  I meandered my way through the roses and orchids and lingered at the mums and daisies but nothing seemed to tickle my fancy until I caught eye of something I’d been longing for–willow.willow

When I was a child, my sister and I would walk down to Beaver Lake with my mother and watch from the edge as she stepped carefully in and around the marsh.  We would come home with cattails and willow, and Mom would fill vases with tall stalks of each–so simple yet so stunning.

My sister and I would sneak into the living room and pop off some of the fuzzy, round buds to rub between our fingers or on each others’ cheeks.  Their softness seemed to soothe in spite of their size.

I had not thought about willow until years later when I attended the Spring flower show in Philadelphia with my friend, Cheryl.  We watched as women literally grabbed handfuls of willow out of buckets and clutched it to their chests–perhaps, a treasure that offered them a bit of Spring hope in the midst of a dreary winter.  I longed to purchase some, but with travel back home, I was concerned my efforts would be in vain.

So as you can imagine, when I spied the bucket resting in the back of the floral area, my heart skipped a beat. I carefully selected two bunches and placed them proudly in my cart.  People around me selected bouquets of freshly picked, colorful flowers, and all I longed for was the simplicity and softness of my willow.

When I came to the check out counter, the gentleman assisting me began chatting about the stalks I’d selected.  He noted how easy it is to root it–just make a fresh cut, place it in a bucket, and ignore it.  We laughed about how people spend so much time and energy trying to care for plants or root cuttings with special formulas and specific science.  In harmony, we both stated, “Let Mother Nature do the work.”

On the way to the car, I pondered the two bunches in my hand.  I realized that I longed for my life to be more like that willow–simple and soft.  My conversation with the store manager reminded me that simplicity is attainable when we stop struggling with ourselves and allow our Creator to do the work.

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