I used to have a pup named Sequoia. She was my heart and soul and best companion. To know her was to love her. The neighborhood saw us regularly walking, roaming, exploring. Through our roamings, we became a neighborhood identity. Somehow in my memory, these walks were just like a 1950s sitcom: perfect weather, perfect people, smaller homes, and happy smiling children.
Sequoia was my introduction to a type of peace I had never known. She greeted our neighbors with joy. Children would come to her house to play with her. She was gentle and patient. Through her, I made many friendships I would not have otherwise been able to make. One such lady was named Susie (name changed).
Susie was fiercely independent. She also loved dogs and nature. She read the Bible and often interpreted it differently than I had ever heard. She strongly believed that God created us in celebration, that we were meant to be joyful people and celebrate.
Through our years of chatting while dogs and children played in the yard, I learned many things about finding joy and peace from Susie. I am a doer. I helped in her garden...and one plant that always needed tending was the geranium. For those uninitiated, geraniums are the favorite flowers of Germany (my home away from home). They will bloom nearly all summer if you care and tend to their deadheads.
Susie was wonderful in the garden, but she never deadheaded those geraniums. On my evening walks through the summer, the dogs would play, Susie would talk, I would deadhead the geraniums. As all flowers do, these geraniums thrived under the constant love and attention. Over the course of a few years, Susie had a wonderful yard decorated with geraniums. I never thought much of it.
One day, Susie mentioned to me, "You know those geraniums are yours." It was her celebration moment. I laughed. It was too simple. Yet, that was sudden moment of joy that put all the conversations into perspective, the playful pups, the laughing children, the blooming flowers.
My inch-by-inch goal had been to walk with my pup and share joy with my neighbors each evening. I found peace each evening in the quietness of the setting sun and chatting with a friend. I never expected the joy that blooming geraniums would bring.
Looking back at these perfect sitcom moments, I find strength in the memory. Walking the pup has long been a self-care activity for me. Through the years, I have learned more and more about not just the joy of giving, but also the joy of learning to receive gifts graciously. Susie's gift to me was her interpretation of joy. My gift to her were the best geraniums in the neighborhood. The neighborhood benefitted with frolicking pups and laughing children.
Times change and celebrations are fleeting, but memories are to be cherished. Today, as we struggle to overcome the overwhelm, look for the quiet celebrations. What went well today? What little project that takes so much time to accomplish has been making progress?
My leadership series is called Strength in Nature because of the lessons we learn through patience and perseverance. Blooms are the celebration of nature. Where are you blooming? Have you taken the time to notice?
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