I bought flowers.
Like, the kind that are in a pot and you plant in soil and then you hopefully watch grow and spill out over the sides of the container and bring beauty to all.
This might not seem like a big deal, but I’m an ever-practical kind of girl. I grow veggies (because flowers are a luxury, not necessity). I make main dishes for people (because desserts are delicious but not necessary). I take long walks after walking miles at work (because it’s a productive way to relax). I have probably as much fun saving money as most people have spending it (because, well, saving money is logical).
And flowers. They’re delightful to look at. I’ve always been thankful to live around people who did grow flowers because I freely admit that while I couldn’t envision myself spending time or money on them, I did enjoy looking at them.
Last week I spent way more than what was practical to reclaim a little patch of weeds and fence it in to keep the raccoons at bay, then delightedly planted a few vegetable plants.
One of my teammates from work lent me his gardening tools and an impressive amount of knowledge. He also showed me gorgeous pictures of his own flowerbed which left me amazed. “Don’t get your hopes up, my little garden isn’t going to look anything like that” I told him. And true to my word, my vegetable patch was nothing compared to his cultivated garden.
My slip-shod work left him shaking his head and me shrugging my shoulders. I had a garden and that’s all I really cared about. I could go out in the evenings after the heat of the day was past and weed, water, and eventually harvest dinner.
Then another co-worker invited me to her house and showed me her lovely back porch with flowers artistically arranged in beautiful planters. It was peaceful. It was inviting. And suddenly I began to rethink my stance on being a practical human.
Yesterday was my day off. I had to go to the store for a few groceries, and while I was there I picked up a few more things for my garden – spending more money than I had planned to. But, as it turns out, some things are worth a $20 splurge. When I got home I took down my sagging fence. Stood on a bucket to pound in more stakes. Found twine, tied bows, and worked in the hot sun until my garden looked presentable.
I added soil to the beautiful blue pots my parents had given me (that really were too lovely for a simple tomato plant), then placed the flowers inside.
Being practical is good. Saving money is important. But balance is, too.
And that’s a big lesson I’ve been learning. I’m driven to being productive. I want each moment to count. Sometimes I can’t help but feel the pressure of needing to do build up inside me. Because sometimes doing isn’t the most important thing in the world. Sometimes it’s far more important – and harder – to simply be. To let go of the plans to accomplish that seemed so grand in my head and take the time to stand and listen for a minute.
This lesson has become real for me time and time again when I have a question or issue to discuss at work. My bosses are busy. They have a lot on their plates. And yet they take the time to listen. To stand there without glancing at their full inbox or piled high desk and be present as I bring questions or concerns.
Time and time again I’ve been blown away by how people – busy, hard-working, must-get-things-done-or-else-there-will-be-big-consequences people – have taken the time to sit, be still, and listen. It’s not practical. But it adds beauty to the world, to my world. And it makes a huge difference.
And so, I planted flowers.
Flowers to remind me that sometimes the practical isn’t the most important. Flowers to remind me that while vegetables might keep you alive, flowers have a way of making you thankful to be alive.
Today, I don’t want to focus only on the practical. Today, I want to focus on whatever God places in front of me. To take the time to be instead of just doing.