I’ve been stumbling around in my world, like most of us, for as long as I’ve been alive. Sometimes in this world, you get to see and enjoy some amazing things. Occasionally, if you’re paying attention and you get realllly lucky, the stars align and you get to see something truly magical – something that can literally take your breath away. I was strolling along one of my life’s beaten paths recently and chanced upon such a thing. When it caught my eye, I was speechless.
You see, I’ve been walking around for a while, not noticing much, probably for the past few years. I’m not sure if there was nothing of import to notice, or if I just wasn’t paying close enough attention. The fact of the matter is that when my eye caught this tiniest of glimpses, I knew it was the most beautiful object I had seen in a very, very long time. It was just the most precious little flower.
I approached this flower with caution, but unbelievable excitement. Flowers can’t run away, but if you don’t approach them with care, understanding, and respect, they will close up and protect themselves so that no one can try to steal their beauty for their own; so that no one can abuse or take advantage of the beauty that was put there for all to see in the first place.
Thankfully, I did approach this special flower with respect, but with some trepidation. To my surprise and delight, my flower stayed open for me. After looking at my new favorite object for what seemed like hours, I started to notice the most amazing details: inside the flower, how the petals were aligned just perfectly aside one another, how the pieces inside seemed to work together to help the flower dance with the other elements of her environment. I noticed how incredible this flower’s scent was. I noticed that instead of the environment creating this beautiful creature, that this lovely specimen was adding beauty TO the environment with all of the things she provided as a flower. Out of nowhere, it hit me like a brick to the side of my head: Brilliant. The word you’re looking for, Ryan, is Brilliant.
Don’t get me wrong, this flower was not perfect. None of them are. But it’s precisely these minor, subtle imperfections that lend to a special flower’s beauty to begin with. And, how she uses these strengths and imperfections in concert with the environment she’s been placed in gives her this unmistakable brilliance. Not just something pretty to look at, My flower was truly Beautiful… AND Brilliant.
I decided to gather my new favorite possession up, as carefully as I could, and take her back with me, into my world. I was sure to take all precautions possible to ensure I would not interfere with her brilliance or her beauty. Obviously, not only do I want to be able to enjoy my flower for a long time to come, but I’ll also want to show her off to everyone with whom I come in contact! I was simply enamored with my flower – I couldn’t get enough.
For several days, I kept my flower with me everywhere I went. And when I couldn’t have her with me, I kept her in my heart. My flower was constantly on my mind when I wasn’t staring at her beauty or admiring her brilliance up close. One day, I felt so intertwined with my flower that I just couldn’t bear to leave her in the safe place I had created for her and decided to even take her to sleep beside me. I placed her gently on the pillow next to me and admired her for several minutes before drifting off into blissful, deep sleep.
But here’s the problem with blissful, deep sleep: you’re not thinking when you’re asleep. Hopefully, you’ve trained your mind to not do anything too stupid while you’re asleep, but none of us are perfect, and as humans, we’re bound to do things we wish we could reverse while we’re asleep and not thinking.
So, in my slumbering stupor, I rolled over in the middle of the night, right over the top of my beautiful and brilliant flower. My very favorite and prized possession, crushed. I awoke to find my poor little flower lying there, so smashed, so helpless, so destroyed. Her brilliance had been thwarted and subsequently, her beauty so rudely altered – a penalty I brought upon her through my own ignorant negligence. I thought, “How could this have happened?! I never meant for this to happen. I wasn’t doing anything wrong – I was just sleeping!” Even though I loved her, I was the one who had crushed her.
Perhaps I was arrogant, and it was never my right to take her as my own to begin with. Maybe, it was okay to take her as my own (I think there’s a beautiful and brilliant flower out there for each of us) but I just didn’t know how to care for her properly – to help her flourish in her brilliance and thus, in her beauty. It’s possible I didn’t deserve her, and this flower was never meant to be mine. I’m not sure if I’ll ever know the ‘why’ behind this sad story. But I do know that significant harm of this unique and incredible specimen was by my hand.
I have since put her back where I found her. For now, I can only admire her from afar and hope and pray that she can somehow regain her original beauty and brilliance in due time, but I know she will. I hope that she recovers to even more illustrious beauty and even more impressive brilliance than ever before. I hope she makes someone as happy as she did me for that short time. And, if I’m being honest, I hope that someone can still be me. Maybe if I’m just more careful and respectful with my flower; maybe if I’m careful not to fall asleep on her, I could go on to enjoy her brilliance and her beauty after she heals. But, maybe not.
We all make mistakes in life. Sometimes, we know what the outcome could be, and we go on with it anyway – probably because we’ve decided the ‘reward’ outweighs the risk. Sometimes that bites you in the ass and sometimes you get away with it. But sometimes… we make mistakes because we’re sleeping through life or not paying attention to our actions. We can hurt the ones we care about the most without even realizing it, because we didn’t take the time to calculate our actions or the harm they may inadvertently cause those closest – even a flower that seems so beautiful, and so brilliant, that it could never be harmed. Those rare flowers are delicate too – in some ways, the most delicate. Be mindful of your actions, and be careful with their hearts because there aren’t very many of them around, trust me.