Thursday, August 16, 2012
Peonies don't really grow in Texas but they became my favorite flower a few years ago when I spent the afternoon with a friend on a hillside in Germany where they grew beautiful and semi-wild. The conversation that day was about our marriages and our children, friendship and life, duty and joy. It was a holy place for me then and now in my memory.
These days when I've needed a little bit of a quiet and holy spot I've gravitated to a funky florist shop in Austin, converted from a gas station, where there's a walk-in cooler full of flowers. Almost always there are peonies. I feel sure the guys who work behind the counter roll their eyes and think, "there she is AGAIN" when I slip in the front door. But they don't bother me while I stand in the cooler. This florist is near a large hospital so I doubt I am the only one who comes in and weeps among the blooms.
The cooler and the glider beside my pool in the backyard, the week-day empty hallways of my church and the inflatable bed where I am sleeping are my private holy places. The more public ones are just as precious. Holding hands with friends over a meal. The sink in our master bathroom. The grocery aisles, the waiting rooms. The park where I watch the child of a friend. The kitchen counter full of medicine bottles. The car where Emily and I talk as we drive. My office, the yogurt shop, the drug store.
All these places are somehow holy as we navigate this season of healing. The only sure thing in the ebb and flow of these painful days is that grace meets us in each place, public and private.
Terry is improving in many ways, still has a way to go in others. He has an amazing attitude and sense of humor, is patient and positive, full of courage and hope while I can often be found heading for the peony cooler. I was thankful for my husband that day on the German hillside, I am even more so now. Is it just that our hearts are so tender, just that we are so grateful? If so, I want to stay aware of these holy spaces and hours, not to forget.
God is good and faithful. I am pretty sure He made peonies.