The other day as I was walking in the park with my dog, I overheard a child say something I have since been unable to completely remove from my mind. As she pulled as many flowers as she could from the ground, she looked up at her father and declared , “I wish I could pick every flower there ever was in the world, then I’d have them all for myself.”
All for myself.
While we may hear this and think it simply something a child would say, I find there is something incredibly telling of human nature in her words. Why do we so often feel that in order to appreciate or love something we must take hold of it? Why must we seek perceived possession? (and I say perceived because I don’t believe anyone ever actually possess anything, despite what we may tell ourselves) Does beauty or goodness fail to be beautiful or good if we let it be what is in itself and choose not to pluck it from the ground?
No. In fact, it’s beauty requires it’s freedom. Once captures, a flower is doomed to die in the hands of he who admired it most. You may have heard me write about this before, even back in Charliesbend. I think it’s because I believe it so deeply, and the longer I live the more I realize it’s depth of truth and relevancy. Life just keeps bringing it up for me.
I think, most often, our natural reaction to being drawn to something is to take it. Did that child want all the flowers of the world to die in her hands? Of course not, but thats not what was on her mind. What was on her mind was how beautiful the flowers were and how she wanted them to belong to her.
I think we often do the same thing. We admire, so we seek to claim, to write our names on whatever it is somehow, and keep it from getting away from our hands. But that isn’t love, not really. Loving something means letting it be free, enjoying its beauty of what it is for what is, not for what you might gain from it. This can be difficult, but if you think about it, how can it be any other way?
Sometimes what we love or admire, without demand or possession, chooses to remain by our side, and gives itself back to us freely. This is the deep sweetness of love in freedom in the way it was meant to be I think. It cannot be demanded, it must be given freely, and once in our hand we must never close our fist around it. It’s what I believe defines real friendship, love, and family relationships. We never own, but we offer ourselves and are simply graced by presence and company as long as God allows it on this earth.
I think that is how He chooses to love us too. Never forceful, never demanding, He waits. And when we choose to give ourselves to Him we are more free than we ever thought we were before.