Late in March this year I was shocked and saddened to hear about the sudden passing of a university course mate. I still don’t have any clear answers to how and why she died but nevertheless her death shook me to the core and served as a rude reminder that life is short. She was young and healthy as far as I was aware, and was just a few months older than me. That didn’t matter because her life was cut short and she passed away at just 34 years.
I have been reflecting and can’t help but draw some comparisons between the brevity of life and the lifespan of flowers. I actually think that flowers illustrate how short life can be perfectly. As I have pondered on this sad event I have and am learning some valuable lessons. Plus my blog after all is about gardening and flowers so I guess it is to be expected that I would default to using them to illustrate life.
Every flower originates from a seed which then germinates to a young seedling, growing then into a small plant and eventually after maturity produces flowers , all being well. Even bulbs and corms start from seeds, a fact I only discovered recently, so just to assure you I don’t know it all when it comes to gardening but I’m learning fast. Don’t ask me to explain how bulbs and corms develop from seeds because I don’t quite know, at least not yet.
Anyway, my point is that life starts from a seed, or in the case of humans a fertilized egg. This fertilized egg (seed) contains all the genetic material needed to develop into a human being. I don’t wish to bore you with the biology of reproduction or the fascinating details of embryology, that would detract from my analogy.
Simply put, we all start ‘somewhere’ and like a seed develops into a plant, we are eventually born, grow, develop and mature. A tiny baby becomes a toddler and grows from childhood into adolescence, experiencing those tricky teenage years and into young adulthood.
If we are lucky, we graduate from college or university, find a job, fall in love, maybe get married and start a family. For the super ambitious, some pursue careers and reach the top of their profession in some cases even managing to do that while raising a family.
Eventually, we might reach middle age and retire and be fortunate to spend our twilight years knowing the grandchildren we have. But it soon ends and we leave this world, fading like a flower because life is short.
Even though that is the script we all hope our lives read, the story we pray to have , we are not guaranteed tomorrow, not really. We pray and hope that we live three score and ten, or more. We make plans, dream dreams and set goals. We save, scrimp, toil and sweat, but when we leave this world , life still goes on.
For some sadly only live a few minutes, a week, a year while some live to a hundred and over. What am I learning each day?
Life is short, so I’ll make the most of today. I’ll dance with my daughter because she wants me to even though the clothes needs ironing and the dishes are not done yet. I’ll pause a little and enjoy the beautiful scenery I see around me. I’ll breathe in the smell of the flowers and the freshly cut grass. I’ll take a deep breath when I feel the pressure and looming deadlines and remember life is short.
Flowers don’t last forever, most times they stop blooming and start to shrivel within a short period of time. Depending on the plant some new buds may appear and it flowers again that season, or the plant may just flower once until the season comes around again the next year.
Even cut or store bought flowers don’t last forever, eventually they lose their fragrance, their beauty and end up in the bin. On this side of eternity life is short, so make it count, invest in people, in relationships, in family. Call that friend, send them a text and check on them. And lastly don’t forget to smell the flowers, because life is short.