How to Accept a Magnolia Blossom

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were out riding around in the car. I don’t remember where we were headed, if anywhere. Sometimes we just ride a few blocks together to get away and be alone, decompressing from the estrogen-laden drama factory that is our home with three teen daughters.

Our conversation turned to trees, somehow, and what we might like to plant in the front yard someday.  It was a short topic of discussion, as neither he nor I can name more than five different kinds of trees.  We like things in our outdoor space to be more green than brown on the color wheel, but are not otherwise yard-workers.

“Magnolia trees,” I said offhandedly, “I love Magnolias; I think they are my favorite.”

We quickly decided that a Magnolia probably wouldn’t work in the space available in the yard, and that was that.  Besides, I am not contributing to the family income right now. Until money grows on trees, we shouldn’t be buying any.

Several days later, my man came home from work with a huge Magnolia bloom. The flower was still tightly compacted around itself.

He remembered I had mentioned liking Magnolias.

It’s the little things that drive you crazy in a household.  It’s also the little things that keep you afloat.

I placed the flower in a bowl of water, arranging the big, dark, waxy leaves around the bud just so. The flower would open in time, but it wouldn’t be rushed.

“Thank you, Baby,” I said, kissing my husband, not knowing what else to say.

That particular day, I had been in my PJs all day long and never managed to get dressed.  I wrote and wrote and wrote, yet managed to produce nothing publishable.  The house was messy and dinner hadn’t been started.   I felt a little embarrassed receiving the flower because I hadn’t accomplished much at all.

I am in a season of accepting things right now, but earning was easier.

Earning was easier, because I felt like I had contributed to the outcome of things. But the best things in my life have all been undeserved and given to me through grace, not ability. Certainly not through my earning them.

It’s humbling, really. It is a mental holdover of self-condemnation.  From impromptu flowers from my husband to the miracle of God’s grace, I am learning how to be a gracious accepter who doesn’t have to feel she has to earn every good thing.

For the next few days, the Magnolia blossom lived on a table behind my writing desk…it’s big, soft pillowy white petals opening a little more each day.  And every time I passed by it, the bloom opened just a little more. ..rusting  around the edges as a Magnolia blossom does.  Just a little more….just a little more…..until it was open completely. It would not be rushed.

The entire house was filled with Magnolia perfume. It blessed everyone who lives in the estrogen –laden drama factory as it opened.  Isn’t that just like a simple, thoughtful gift unearned to spread like Magnolia petals?

Gracefully.