February 3rd: Peace

Last night I posted a very simple question on my Facebook page and it was “What, in your opinion, is one of the most beautiful flowers and why?”

The answeres I got were well thought out and absolutely beautiful.  Everyone had not only a response to WHAT is one of the most beautiful floweres, but WHY?  Here…listen in.

Molly wrote:  “Tulips because they are the sign that spring has arrived. I love the smell of lilacs the most. But I’m pretty sure, if ever I have a child that dandelions will become my absolute favorite the first time he/she bursts through the backdoor with a bouquet of those yellow weeds.”

Christa wrote:  “Pansies. The first moment I laid eyes upon my firstborn upturned face, all I could think of was how fresh and tender she looked…for some reason, in that moment I was reminded of the smiling face in a pansy, and have always associated them with her :)”

Kristi wrote:  “I’ve always had a soft spot for dandelions. They just keep doing their thing, despite the fact that people spend all kinds of money, time and effort to keep them from having their time in the sun; and when they’ve had enough being a flower they transform themselves and take to the sky.   Who wouldn’t want to be a dandelion?”

Kim wrote:  “Oh! there are so many! But, dandelions are my favorite because they bring back simple memories of childhood. It’s one of the first flowers we pick and give lovingly to our mothers, friends or just for ourselves to delight in… next to clover, of course. They thrive in most soils, fertile or infertile, they will not be denied or discouraged. They persist, survive, and can teach us humans that no matter what conditions we face in life, if you establish deep and stable roots, you’ll be able to continue on. They represent the coming of spring and renewal of life. There is nothing more magical  and empowering than watching seeds being set free under our own breath, carried just a short distance, or if we blow harder, taking flight on a longer journey, to places unknown. No matter, where they land, they adapt and find a way to begin their cycle again. As a woman who has survived breast cancer and loved a child I did not bear within my own body, I see the simple dandelion as a metaphor of dreams, hope and life itself.”

I am moved, even now, as I read the responses. There were (and they keep coming in) over 64 of them.

And I wonder what I can gain from their answers?  Might there be a way to view the beauty of men and women, both, from an angle such as this?  To shift the conversation from external beauty as these women have done…to making beautiful an experience?

My entire life has been emmersed in the world of children. There is a safety there, a willingness on the part of both of us, to be vulnerable and okay with that.  To say outloud, I’m afraid, or I’m strong, or I’m angry, or I’m joyful.  The context and filters of adult life haven’t yet manifested within their words, thoughts and actions and so they live unabashedly in a space of joy, curiosity and wonder.

I am there now in this conversation, with you…I am grateful for you.  I think you are beautiful for what you contribute to this world, this conversation.

I remember when I was a kid, hanging out at the park.  I used to love to walk onto one end of a see saw and gently make my way across the wooden plank toward the other end.  Slowly I would proceed across the wood…smaller steps as I approached the middle.

At some point (and I can actually feel it now as I write to you) I felt a delicious kind of anticipation, wondering when the plank would move from one end being on the ground to the other end being on the ground.  The tipping point was never quite known, but it was always certain to come.
As I wake up each morning and read your responses, explore this conversation and cruise through the various comments (both those that scare and delight me) and blog entries, I feel as if I’m approaching the fulcrum of the see saw…the tipping point for this conversation is slowly approaching.

I remember vividly, years ago, I was wrapping up with a Girls on the Run group at Charlotte Country Day School.

The weather all day was unsure–in a constant state of changing its mind–would it be rainy, cloudy, cold, warm, thundering, or sunny?  Our attempt to do the final lesson was in question right up until the 3:30 hour when I met the girls.  We stood in our circle of friendship together and all said one word about our Girls on the Run experience.   I’ve heard them all by now…”Awesome, Real, Cool, Fun, Running, Love.”

As we walked to the track, I felt as if I was peering through an emotional kaleidoscope…one turn to the right and I felt joy.  A small turn to the left and I felt sorrow.  This was, after all, our last day together.

The girls began to run.   The clouds were building, a thunderstorm was rumbling hundreds of miles away.  Rolling, building, powerful.  Madeline was the smallest girl in Girls on the Run.  At some point during the workout portion of the lesson, Madeline came to me, her tiny hands cupped around the corners of her mouth.  She whispered,  “Molly, come here.  I have something I have to show you.   I must show you. Please.”
I was busy handing out game pieces and cheering for each girl as she ran by me.  “Sorry Madeline, but I really need to stand here and cheer on each girl.”

“But Molly you have to see this.”  She continued to cup her mouth with hands on either side and whispered, “I think I see Heaven.”

Well, that’s certainly interesting, I thought.  If Madeline sees heaven surely I must see it too.  So we each grabbed the hand of the other and ran as fast as we could to the far end of the track. “Look!” she said.  “Look.  I see Heaven.”  I turned to my right and was struck speechless by what appeared before me.   Dark black clouds surrounded a brilliant white light…. like the blade of a silver knife this light pierced the sky and sent beams of itself  down on the earth miles and miles away.   “See,” she said, completely convinced.

“Heaven!”

I am reminded of the heaven I saw nearly twenty years ago, on that run of July 7th, 1993.  When only the day before I had considered my end—to run the following afternoon amidst the power of an approaching thunderstorm.  To, at mile five of that six mile run, see, feel and know the brilliance of my own potential followed by the desire to seek moments of similar power as often as I could from there on out.

“Madeline,” I said.  “Yes.  Heaven, surely.” But I didn’t need to look to the sky.  I didn’t need to look to some distant space in time.  I only had to look at the two small, but brilliant rays of light–there in Madeline’s eyes to know that indeed, heaven is right there, resting inside her little girl soul…that little girl body.

Heaven rests in me and you and the brilliance of our own lives.  I am convinced, as convinced as Madeline was that she was witnessing a glimpse of heaven on a stormy day, that this dialogue…and wherever you are in the conversation,  is creating our own heaven, a place of  safety where girls and women  can feel a peace of such depth, simply being themselves.  Talk to me…what, in your opinion is the most beautiful flower and then of course the most important question…why?

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4 Responses to February 3rd: Peace

  1. Rachel Biber Brewer says:

    Daisies. Simple, sweet, unassuming. And when they start to fade it’s so easy to grab their seed and plant new ones. They remind me of my mother’s amazing garden and of course how she was an amazing mother. They sit in the background of many mother’s day pictures, graduations, and new beginnings. They were the bouquet I held down the aisle and it’s the name of my dear running partner who has put in countless miles with me rain or shine (my sweet dog of course). They are the best.

  2. Greg Ward says:

    Molly, Of course you know that the story of Madeline is one of my favorites! I’ll never forget the very first time I read it. As a proud dad of my own Girl on the Run, I’m not afraid to admit that my eyes welled up! And as you know, that became the soul inspiration for a song on our team’s GOTR DVD. Good stuff Molly!

  3. Anne P says:

    What a beautiful post!

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