Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Celebrate EACH step....admire Each wildflower individually

As I was traveling down a country road on my way to and from Mass on Sunday, I couldn’t help but notice the large number of wildflowers growing alongside the road. Part of this stretch was the same route I took for an extended bike ride on Saturday. You may recall my thoughts about that in Sunday’s video post.  In any case, the drive and several others this week have had me thinking about my journey and how similar it can be to the wildflowers growing in the fields and ditches.  WHAT… might be asking?

While I was driving along, I noticed that the large number of flowers blended in with each other and created a mass of color…a glorious display….but honestly, at a high rate of speed, they appeared more like a wave of color rather than a collection of individual flowers. I didn’t notice all the different kinds, the shapes of the leaves, the unique blossoms, nor could I smell their fragrance. The appeared simply as a collection of “weeds” that were noticeable only because of the large numbers of them grouped together. I doubt that  I would have even noticed had there only been one Queen Anne’s Lace or chicory plant, but a group of them growing  together became a beautiful display of God’s glory, even though the beauty of each individual plant was lost.  I know, however, that each different type of flower (weed) is unique and lovely….all by itself….because I took the time during my bike ride to look at them up close; slowly; carefully; and with eyes of gratitude for this “free gift” of the Creator displayed right before my eyes. We often forget that each of us is unique and wonderfully made as well.

Many times when we are working diligently to change our lives, we get so focused on numbers that we lose focus on the journey. Not just the number on the scale or on the size tag, but on pounds lost (or yet to lose) or days that we were smoke-free/drug-free or sober. Quantity becomes more important than quality and we forget to be grateful for each step we take on the journey.  We set goals (this is a good thing) of 20 or 50 pounds lost (often going to extremes to get there) or work for a 30/60/1 year chip. By the time we hit that number, people often begin to notice our efforts and sometimes compliment us on our progress, and this gives more significance to the “number.” Grouped together, every pound lost has an impact, but oftentimes, we get discouraged and feel bad when “we only lose 1 pound” or hit a plateau on any given week, almost like “that’s a bad thing”, especially when we have a long way to go or are impatient to see results.  Certainly, losing 20 pounds has more of an impact than one or two, and is much more noticeable, but still, each pound…each day of sobriety….each mile walked….each moment of peace/joy… worth celebrating and is beautiful in its own right. We just don’t often notice and/or appreciate it when it happens singularly, and yet…we know that we have to work hard….for EACH pound.... EACH time we resist temptation….EVERY time we ‘bite our tongue” or forgive or show kindness when we don’t want to.  We don’t want to take the time necessary to reach our goals….we’d rather just “speed right to the end”, but in the process, we lose sight of the gift/wonder/beauty/significance……of EACH SMALL STEP, each singular wildflower, if you will.  We forget that ‘by itself” each of those moments, each and every pound we lose, is a victory and an accomplishment;  and we forget to be grateful.

I picked a whole bunch of flowers….many different kinds….during my bike ride. As I was preparing them for the vase, I looked at each one individually…the beauty…. uniqueness….. color…..and I “mentally” named it one thing about my journey.  For instance….the daisy….was freedom from fear; the blue chicory was mobility; the Queen Anne ’s Lace was pounds lost; the cattail was gratitude..,..etc. Others were joy, forgiveness, freedom, opportunity, etc.  I could have put each flower in its own vase….and admired it all by itself….but grouped together…it became a masterpiece….a gift….something that made me smile…..JUST LIKE MY JOURNEY.  As I progress through my journey, God has helped me to become more grateful; to lose weight; to regain my mobility; to be more kind, loving, courageous….and so forth. Each of those things are a gift from God….and another piece of the journey. Individually, each one is a blessing, but when I put them all together…. there is JOY like I’ve never known….peace that passes all understanding….and gratitude to recognizes that ALL THINGS are possible, only by the Grace of God. Sometimes… I just go too fast through life to notice how abundantly blessed I am.

Perhaps if you are struggling; are discouraged because you aren’t losing weight fast enough; or you aren’t making the progress you want, you could pick a few wildflowers so that you can see for yourself “up close” just how precious ONE or TWO or TEN pounds lost can be….even if you have 40 or 80 or 200 pounds to lose. You can see how blessed you are to get through ONE hour or ONE DAY without a drink/cigarette/anxiety attack (whatever)….even if you have a long road to recovery. Celebrate EACH pound…EACH day….EACH victory…. And just imagine how glorious it will be as you continue to add to your accomplishments, but please, don’t’ forget to be grateful for EACH one.  You can do it… step at a time!