New Flowers, Old Graves
I was recently cleaning out some piled-high clutter from my life when I uncovered boxes full of memories I had pushed to the back of my mind when I pushed them to the back of my closet. One of the things I discovered in the mess was a bouquet of old roses. It might sound morose, but I personally think there is a certain beauty that can be seen even after their petals have dried.
Though these bundles may still be slightly appealing, I would never expect to receive them as a gift or want them left on my doorstep in efforts to make a romantic gesture. They are old flowers, ones that acquired a different type of attractiveness over the course of time. However, the freshest flowers mean the most when given in any circumstance—the exquisite blooming kind with an alluring scent and vibrant hues.
It would be odd for a bride to carry a dead bouquet with broken pieces and muted colors down the aisle to meet her groom, right?
As we walk through life, there will be times we must accept the losses of some people and circumstances. They may have been beautiful at one point and they may still hold a certain splendor when you think back on them. Although they may still have attractive qualities, they have dulled and faded and are no longer as they were. They may not even belong in your life anymore.
This concept became clearer to me as I was going for a jog in a new area not long ago. I entered what I thought was a paved park, but to my surprise, I had accidentally run right into the center of a cemetery.
I slowed down my pace but my mind was still running wildly. As I walked around, I began to notice all the flowers and memorabilia surrounding the tombstones. It took little time for me to realize that more than ninety percent of the flowers were not real.
This reminded me of a story of a woman who lost her husband years before. Every week she had flowers delivered to his grave. As she grew older and her health began to wane, she felt as though she was nearing death herself. The kind elder became saddened that she would no longer be able to continue this act of adoration for her beloved. The sympathetic florist did his best to calm her down and bring a new perspective on the situation.
He encouraged her to personally deliver the flowers to residents of a nearby nursing home. She hesitantly took the young man’s advice. The reactions of the recipients were priceless and uplifting. Although she was trying to show love, she began to realize she had been wasting new flowers on the grave of someone who couldn’t even appreciate them. As she continued distributing the brightly colored plants, her joy—and even her wellness—began to increase. She was sharing life with the living.
Psalm 23:4 is a well know scripture that I have started to see in a new light. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for Thou art with me….”
My mind went back to the lifeless flowers in my own life and the graves they should have died on. Perhaps the reason I was feeling so oft defeated was because I was steadily bringing brand new flowers and visiting the graves of the things I didn’t want to admit were dead. Instead of leaving things in the past, I was revisiting old hurts, dead dreams, broken down promises, and past mistakes. Though I couldn’t take them with me where I was going, I was doing my best to carry them out of the valley with me. Over time, dead weight can become quite heavy.
I decided it was time to leave what should have died in the valley in its place. No longer would I revisit the past with new flowers in hand doing my best to revive what needed to be laid to rest.
Maybe you feel like you have been in the valley of the shadow of death for so long, but perhaps there is a reason for that. It is time to bury the things that are inhibiting you from moving forward. It is difficult to climb a mountain with extra weight holding you back. It may seem dark and dismal now, but when you leave the things that don’t belong behind you, you will soon be on your way out.
Stop revisiting the graves of your past, and don’t waste new flowers on what is old and hurtful. They are historical landmarks, places and people you have learned from, but no one wants to spend all of their time in a graveyard, no matter how much someone meant to them. Pay your respects, say your good-byes, and remember the good you learned, but don’t spend your time trying to get something back that has gone away.
Go pick yourself some new flowers and press on.
Rachel Thorne was born in Florida and has lived in many places throughout the United States. She is a graduate of Urshan College, formerly known as Gateway College of Evangelism. She wants to make a difference and change her world. Rachel is actively seeking the will of God for her life and is willing to do whatever He has for her.