It was my weekly struggle to get as many grocery bags from the car into the house at one time as possible. My hands completely full, I somehow managed to get the key in the lock and open the door. Stepping into the kitchen, I put all the bags on the counter and went back to the car for the last thing: a bouquet of tulips.
The deep purple/red color caught my eye across the crowded floral department so I picked them up and brought them home. They would look so striking against our black granite island.
Ignoring the groceries momentarily, I chose the perfect vase, carefully cut the stems, prepared the water with plant food, and submerged the flowers. Beautiful! Then, after putting the food away, I went about my day.
Well, something went wrong in the kitchen…
See for yourself.
Go ahead and laugh. I did.
What did I do to those poor tulips? Was it the water temperature? The way I cut the stems? Something I said?
After my surprise and laughter subsided, I realized the blooms themselves were still intact. I couldn’t just throw them away. So, what to do with them?
I brainstormed and rejected a few ideas before settling on this one.
Pretty good alternative, I thought. I was still able to enjoy them, just not in the way I expected. Plus, I loved the contrast of the deep color against the white, which I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
Was it a perfect solution? No. Would they have lasted longer in the vase? Yes, if I hadn’t deflated them to begin with.
My unconventional arrangement wasn’t what I was expecting, but there was beauty in it nonetheless.
I think the same can be said about life. Life isn’t always what we expect. It doesn't always follow our plans or live up to our expectations.
When that happens, if we believe that God is good, loving, and sovereign, we know that He will work it out for our good and his glory. Such a comforting thought, and I'm grateful for that assurance.
But in the moment, it's difficult to face that disappointment, discouragement, or frustration. It's hard to see our expectations deflate like those tulips.
One thing that helps me make the best of a discouraging or frustrating moment (or season) is to ask this question that I learned from CEO, author, and speaker Michael Hyatt: "What does this make possible?"
This question can help us gain a new perspective on the situation. Maybe we need to take what we have, even if it isn't perfect, and view it with fresh eyes. Can we use it in a new way? Can we try something different?
If so, maybe we'll be surprised by the results. Maybe we'll find unexpected beauty.
Vase of tulips and smoothies photo courtesy of Chen | Unsplash