Jason asked me last week how long my poinsettia was going to last. What he really meant was he wanted it out of the house now that Christmas was over. He made the mistake of telling me he had already taken the cedar wreaths off the front doors that the Cub Scouts make for us every year, and that I bust my sister-in-law's chops over perfecting the bows for. All it took was throwing him "the look" and calmly saying, "I don't know what you did with them, but get them and put them back where they were. I don't care if Christmas is over, it's still winter and they're still relevant."
I turned my attention to the poinsettia finally. I happen to like pink ones the best, maybe because they're less December 25th expirational. Who knows? They're just my favorite, and this year I found a big one, three plants in one pot, and it likes the home I picked for it inside our front door. It had shed some of its leaves onto the table it's sitting on, and a few of its petals were whithered. I was prepared for the defeat that I typically experience with my black-thumb gardening skills. I'm quite the plant killer. I guessed its time had finally come. But I took a closer look as I gently plucked away the deadness here and there, and realized it was still quite alive. It just had this thin cloak of death that needed removed to let the life inside shine through.
Just like our lives.
It's so much like the burdens we find ourselves under. Not the ones that are predictable and cliche, not the mortgage and the car payments and performance pressures in life. The real burdens are the things that we forget about, those emotional hanger-onners that have been around so long, we can't see that they're weighing us down. They're really the least important of the things for us to hold tight to any longer because they're hiding the life and beauty that we have inside and dim the light in our eyes. It's not until we pluck them off ourselves and get rid of them for good that they stop dragging us down.
The one-way friendships, the problematic family members, the baseless worry, the past in general. We all try to be glad for what we have instead of upset over what we don't, but it's not easy...just ask my boys.
And so this flower whose time is limited I will keep free of shriveling petals and leaves as long as I can, and I'll try to do the same for myself. No sense in letting any of it dull me. That, and exfoliation should yield some pretty good results. If all else fails, I'll look to my friends, the true friends that see beneath to my true self, and ask them to help spruce me up a bit.