Monday, May 12, 2014

The Purpose of a Flower

“In many ways we are like the busy man who walks up to a precious flower and says, ‘What for God’s sake are you doing here?  Can’t you get busy some way?” and then finds himself unable to understand the flower’s response:  “I’m sorry, sir, but I am just here to be beautiful.”    

                                                                        Henri J.M. Nouwen    Creative Ministry

When my son is being slow I find myself so easily frustrated.  Sometimes it takes him forever to get out of the car or to decide that he’s done at the toilet.  The busy mom in me, who is always aware of the millions of other things that I need to get done that minute, is tempted to blurt out, “Josh, why can’t you go faster!?”

Life with Josh is never expeditiously productive.  Josh doesn’t think very quickly.  His body doesn’t decide to do things very easily.  Communication with Josh is like being at a coffee shop with intermittent wi-fi. 

Usually, at the zenith of my impatience, I find that God gets my attention.  He often plants a question in my mind like, “Why do you need Josh to be more effective and efficient?”   I am guessing that it has more to do with how I feel about myself and about my life than a true assessment of what my son is able to do in that moment.

I also begin to realize that my son was not created to be fast.  Josh will never be a resident in the realm of high productivity or immediate transformation.  

Josh is here on this planet to be a parable about a different way.  His purpose is to make people slow down, even to stop for a bit.  His impact will be on those who are willing to pause and rethink our assumptions about how things have to be.

The other day Josh walked out of the house loudly munching on a zucchini like it was an apple.  I had a knee-jerk response to rebuke him.  “No, Josh, we don’t eat uncooked zucchinis!”

One of my girls asked, “Why not, Mom?”

You know what?  I did not have an answer.  Yes, it was unwashed but that isn’t the biggest deal in the world.  Why can’t you eat a raw zucchini if you want to?  I have eaten them diced into salads before.  There is nothing inherent in a zucchini that necessitates cooking.  If my child is happy to eat a vegetable, without my forcing him to, why would I stop him?

“Well . . .  go ahead, Josh.” 

I put my unemptied grocery bag and armful of jackets down and sat on the bench in front of my house and watched him eat the whole zucchini with great gusto like it was a sweet, juicy peach.  Upon finishing, stems and all, he looked very satisfied and amused.  He started clapping and humming, choosing this moment to have a little celebration.  Watching Josh quieted my spirit.  I smiled, knowing that Josh had been placed in my life just to be beautiful. 


  1. Thank you. A million times thank you.

  2. I love my beautiful nephew. You eat that zuchinni.

  3. I always love your posts. Hugs to you all and maybe you should plant some zucchini this summer! ;)

    1. YS, yes, my zucchini is starting to grow already. I used a big huge one in our dinner last night!