On my daily dog walks, I’ve been keeping an eye on a budding and blooming bush in a neighbor’s front yard. It first caught my attention when I stepped past it to get a closer look at a small garden angel. Perched on a low rock wall on a grey winter day, this lonely sentinel appeared to watch for small eruptions of God’s beauty. Its blank statue-stare aimed directly at the bush.
As days and weeks have passed, I wondered if a white capsule enclosed the flower buds before they exploded red. Now in full bloom, this bush has branches of red flowers and more branches of white. The red flowers opened first. The white flowers face the street. Captivating.
This bush makes me think of my two sons. Born of the same root stalk, if you will, they displayed different colors from birth. One exudes vibrant energy while the other whispers witticisms. One moves incessantly; the other sits still. One makes his presence known in every space; the other quietly observes. One follows his fascination into the natural world while the other explores the world within.
This bush reminds me that each son embodies different characteristics inherited, or learned, from his mama. One has my drama and my wonder in the presence of beauty. The other has my cozy-comfortable content-at-home-ness and my compassionate desire to serve others well. Of course they are each uniquely their own person, created in God’s good image, shining forth facets of God’s beauty flashing off their directional mirrors.
This bush causes me to consider that we all contain colors we bloom naturally, colors that explain and express who we are, colors we most easily manifest to the world. We likely also hold other colors, hues that for one reason or another we stifle. I am drawn to shades of blue and green, a calming ocean palette, and occasionally I want to sashay forth in wildly hot pink – not just in my wardrobe but in my laughter. In the things I do that cause me to bubble with laughter.
We are not all one thing or another. We grow. We graft in new experiences, people, thoughts and feelings. We change, in time, with love. As humans, we have freedom – in love, God gives us freedom – to bloom in a full spectrum of colors. Honor the color palette with which you began, but don’t let it define you – or confine you – for all time. If you feel like waving a branch of flowers in a different color, wave wildly. I can’t wait to see. I promise to wave back.