Imperfect Roses in a Secondhand Vase

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My roses are not perfect. They are from my front yard.

The vase is not an antique or “brand new” from a famous designer. I paid $6 for it at a second-hand store. 

On this cold Saturday morning, I was alone in my kitchen listening to The Gaithers (I feel I need to remind you at this point that I am in fact 33, not 73 as my choice of music may indicate.) I had just cut the last of our roses, before the cold weather settles in, and was doing my best to arrange them the way my sweet mama taught me.  

And I was reminded how much I love imperfect flowers and second-hand vases. 

My mind went back to other Saturday mornings, 25 years ago, when my Granddaddy Browning would come over with a bucket of his garden’s roses, a bag of fruit, and $5 for my “pocketbook.”

He came every Saturday morning.

Then I thought of my precious girlfriend Christie who loves gardening, looks forward so to Spring, and has already been to every nursery in town within a 10 mile radius even though it’s only mid-January.  In fall she recommended a new book to me, For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. It’s been one I’ve read over twice, given to others as a present, and looked up lines again on days I needed them. It’s one of those books that gives you something new each time you open it.

photo cred|mopsofkennettsquare

photo cred|mopsofkennettsquare

It’s a new book about fighting for grace in this modern world of perfect standards. 

It’s a new book, but feels like an old hymn. Oh how I love the old hymns.

Life is not always what we want it to be… or what the world is showing us it “should” look like. 

On this Saturday morning, I am remembering that it is better this way.

Wintley Phipps said, “It is in the quiet crucible of your personal private moments that your noblest dreams are born, and God’s greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you have been through.”

And in the quiet moments of this cold Saturday morning, when I was cutting real flowers and not just looking at them on instagram like I am tempted to do,  I remember how thankful I am for things like:

…the messy dog hair on my shirt because that meant a sweet Sadie had been hugging me.

…the cracked blue plastic pill organizer on my kitchen counter that my husband faithfully fills up for me each week, because it is a symbol of such love.

…the dark circles under my eyes because that meant I stayed up late watching Coach Eric and Tami Taylor on Friday Night Lights.

They are truly the highest compensation… these imperfect roses and secondhand vases. 

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Here are some of my favorite Jen Hatmaker lines:

“Thank you, Beautiful Preteen and Adolescent Daughters, fruit of my loins, for keepin’ it real by reminding me daily that, although I’ve been on this planet for over forty years, I still have a lot to learn. And you’re just the two to teach it to me. Thank you for putting up with me while I try to figure life out. Love, Your Poor Little Dumb-Dumb Mom.”

“The trouble is, we have up-close access to women who excel in each individual sphere. With social media and its carefully selected messaging, we see career women killing it, craft moms slaying it, chef moms nailing it, Christian leaders working it. We register their beautiful yards, homemade green chile enchiladas, themed birthday parties, eight-week Bible study series, chore charts, ab routines, “10 Tips for a Happy Marriage,” career best practices, volunteer work, and Family Fun Night ideas. We make note of their achievements, cataloging their successes and observing their talents. Then we combine the best of everything we see, every woman we admire in every genre, and conclude: I should be all of that. It is certifiably insane.”

“Thank you, Instagram Filters, for you have helped me put out many works of photographic fiction that make me appear younger, tanner, and thinner than I actually am. Natural lighting may be my nemesis, but Lo-Fi is my BFF. LYLAS”

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