For my flower obsessed friends, you probably already know this, but I’m just catching on. When it comes to all things beautiful God holds some pretty cool secrets that he waits for us to discover. For our part, we have to slow down and savor the details to find them.
For the last several months we’ve been deep into planning our daughter’s wedding. This is not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants and wing-it wedding (is that even is a thing?). Oh no, this is a curated wedding that started the day she was born! Of course that sounds completely ridiculous, but in a way it’s true. My husband and I have invested countless hours praying for the future spouses of all of our children and when the first one finds the right one, life takes on a greener color. Dreams are thought through with an eye for relevance, romance and practicality, long tucked away boxes come out of the basement, creative juices of “lasting significance” flow. What can we make and contribute to the day that will carry meaning and joy across the span of their married life together?
When Jessie was born in Chicago, Charlie brought a dozen pink and red roses into our hospital room at Northwestern Memorial. Being a sentimental geek, I dried them and saved them for her wedding someday – as in 27 years later someday. Well, those dried roses are coming out of their little box, soon to be mixed with roses that her fiancé gave her. By God’s grace we will turn them into something magnificent. How did they not crumble into dust? Careful packing, a basement with just the right humidity and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s true statement, “God is in the details.” He is the grand curator, caring about everything, significant and insignificant to us.
While walking a pastoral lawn alongside Lake Michigan in the summer of 2020, Jessie told me that she thought she was going to marry Mr. Y. They had been dating for just over a year and to hear her say this was definitely a first. In a confident voice, reminiscent of Elizabeth Bennet she said to me, “I think I’d like marry him on this lawn, right here.” As we looked over “this lawn” wishes started popping into our eyes like stars, but just as our thoughts were about to fall off the cart-before-the-horse cliff, we noticed an antique key lying right between our feet in the grass. It felt like a God placed secret we randomly discovered, What was it for? What did it open? We picked it up and tried to unlock the nearby cabin door, nope. So we decided to keep it and pray over this key. Would she marry Mr. Y. on “this lawn” someday in the future? What secrets might this key hold?
Fast forward to her first bridal shower in her hometown. There we sat in our springtime print dresses on a grey sprinkling morning surrounded by bridesmaids and longtime friends. Nothing in my life can match the friendships of women who have raised all their children together in the same town, same school, somewhat the same church and practically as neighbors. We have cried at each others’ kitchen tables over the terrible things our kids have done, walked our dogs in forests, rejoiced at every graduation and all of life in-between. Our circle of blessing around this bride-to-be included meaningful, handmade gifts I couldn’t have imagined, practical gifts every bride and groom need to start their lives, and plenty of flowers, quiche and coffee. Our lovely hosts gave the M.O.B. (Mother of the Bride) and bride a bouquet to take home as we waltzed out the door laden with Crate and Barrel boxes.
I’m one week into cutting the stems shorter on that bouquet and refreshing the water and it looks just as new as on that April Shower day. When I pulled it apart to toss out some crinkling eucalyptus, I noticed an almost invisible flower that did not appear in the mass of white hydrangea, scabiosa, lisianthus, and roses. If you pry open the hydrangea bracts, hidden deep inside is a blue star flower! It looks nothing like the rest of the bodacious blooms. It reminds me of a miniature love-in-the-mist which I grew from seed for our perennial garden years ago. There is an antique, tested beauty across the ages of time quality to it. It screams, “I don’t care if you don’t see me, I’m content hiding my glory.” This flower within the flower is a counter-cultural hidden gem in a society that disposes of the less than perfect, the wilting. I might have missed it if I had thrown away the flowers when they began to fade. And this Blue Willow china blue color is the accent color for the wedding flowers, bridesmaids dresses…all the things.
God has a gracious and abundant trousseau waiting for us to unpack and discover. We hide things away and we forget about them and sometimes it takes a key found in the grass to set a new day in motion and cause us to see things we’ve been missing or remember what we’ve been keeping away all our lives.
I wish all the mother’s that I know a blessed Mother’s Day, filled with the love of your children and God’s secrets uncovered in the unlikeliest of places.