How many flowers are you able to name? I recognize common flowers like roses, tulips, mums, violets, lilies, and daffodils, but if you propped me behind the microphone on a game show and drilled me with floral flashcards, my brain would short-circuit.
Botanists claim that they’ve documented more than 270,000 different species of flowers. That’s quite a bouquet! Paleobotanists (those who have dedicated their lives to the study of fossilized plants and animals) have discovered fossilized flowers that resemble magnolias. Imagine the moment a sweet-scented magnolia broke free from its stem and fluttered to the ground. Through a time-consuming process—perhaps from being buried in volcanic ash or sand—that flower’s shape and structural details were later embedded in a rock, which eventually found its way into a museum for visitors to enjoy. The journey is said to have taken thousands of years from tree to display case. God only knows the exact amount of time.
Take a few minutes to read up on the history of your favorite flowers and you might be surprised by how far they’ve come. Did you know, for example, the lowly peony arrived in America with the early settlers? It survived long, cruel winters and scorching summers, poor soil and relentless rain. Yet it flourished, and it has been called the flower that “makes artists of us all.” It will thrive just about anywhere.
Here are a couple more flowery factoids: In 1929, a document about herbal remedies was discovered. Written in Latin, this sixteenth-century record described how the Aztecs in Mexico used dahlias as a prime treatment for epilepsy. Because insulin had not yet been discovered, diabetics were often given a special sugar tonic made from the tubers of dahlias.
Napoleon’s wife, Josephine, always wore violets, so on each anniversary, he would give her a bouquet of the pretty purple blossoms. Before his 1814 exile to the Island of St. Helena, Napoleon had one wish: to visit Josephine’s tomb. After his death, they discovered he was wearing a locket containing violets he’d picked at Josephine’s gravesite.
Like far-reaching flowers, each of us is on a journey. No doubt your life’s journey includes a few proverbial cliffs and canyons, slippery slopes and potholes. But tough times shape us. Trials and tribulations are nothing new; Jesus experienced them, too. I Corinthians 1:3-5 assures us of God’s abiding presence no matter what we encounter: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. (NKJV)
Take time to review your unique life’s journey. Do you see evidence of His faithful provision? shelter from the storm? timely promises from his Word? precious friendships He intentionally planted across your path? Do you recall compassionate smiles He delivered via strangers at the exact moment you needed an encouraging touch?
The journey of life grows sweeter each year, as we pause to acknowledge God’s hand on our shoulder and His light spilling across our path. He’s the fragrant flowers from a loved one, and the arm around your shoulder when you think you can’t go on. He’s the Beginning and the End.
What could be sweeter than that?
©2008, Bonnie Bruno
For more slice-of-life stories, visit Bonnie’s Macromoments blog: http://macromoments.blogspot.com
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