When Life Is Plain

I have the joy of being in Washington, DC to help my daughter with her kids while her husband is away.

Being at the capital in spring has always been a desire of mine. This is the season of the cherry blossoms.

With the wackiness of the weather, I missed their peak by a week.

Four-year-old Sloane’s response: “I don’t like those blossoms. They’re plain now. I don’t like plain. It’s boring.”

Her assessment is correct; what were beautiful pink blooms that at one time appeared like a pink tapestry over the Tidal Basin is now rather drab, white, faded and falling to the ground.

They’d been duped by Mother Nature. A warm spell encouraged the cherry blossoms to burst into bloom, but a cold snap shortened their life span.

Not the beauty I’d anticipated.

Sloane is a bit sassy and has a flair for the dramatic.

She also has a practical, contemplative side.

I told her I was sad these trees lost their color. She nodded and then added with unexpected wisdom, “Nana, you need to look at ALL the flowers and trees. There are beautiful colors all around. Just look. You’ll see.”

She was right. Spring has now come to the DC area, and the grounds are awash with brilliant colors from the tulips, daffodils, and many varieties of flowering trees in the area.

It is indeed beautiful.

Even though it wasn’t what I wanted.

It’s easy right now to become overwhelmed by what feels plain and boring. We’ve lived with restrictions for over a year, with disappointments piling up like so much dirty laundry. Missed graduations and proms. Weddings reduced to appropriate sizes for restrictions. Gatherings of friends and families limited by what the CDC says is right. Hospitals limiting visits of all kinds.

Sloane is right. We need to see beyond disappointment to what is around us.

We’ve been amazed by how we’ve had to pivot and work remotely–and many have flourished there. Others are finding ways to interact with people in unique ways. Creativity has forced us to think outside the box. Not wait for someone to hand us a solution but to be challenged to find one for ourselves.

God has granted each of us a wonderful sense of creativity, one many haven’t used for a long time because we let social media and technology do it for us. Too often we’ve become observers instead of participants in life.

Life is anything but plain and boring. It’s filled with individuals we can choose to get to know, opportunities to grow beyond our coziness and comfort zones, and possibilities that can make us each better people. Jesus gives us the capacity to dream, hope, and find renewed strength and joy in Him.

It’s easy to fall into a habit of dismal disappointment. Of constantly feeling let down, of never achieving what we thought we might.

God often uses our challenges, hurts, and despondency to redirect our paths and show us something new and different. To encourage us to move on.

Sloane is right. There is so much beauty, so many possibilities of good things, that all we need to do is look.

God will surprise you.

5 responses to “When Life Is Plain”

  1. I’m so sorry you missed the cherry blossoms, Dayle. Steve and I hope to visit DC at full-bloom time someday. You are correct, however, that there is beauty where we choose to see it. Even plain has its own beauty (I happen to love grey, stone, and black colors, for example). My children are also finding potential in “plain” things via a furniture flipping venture. Items that would otherwise end up in a landfill find new life and purpose with a bit of loving care. I love how God helps us see that same potential, hope, and beauty in people too. Thanks for always pointing us to Him.


    1. So impressed with what your kids are choosing to do! My dad used to tell us, “Waste not, want not.” Your children are acting on that! And you’re SO much like Debbie–those are her favorite colors–if they can be called colors!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! My dad said “Waste not, want not” too! In later years, I had to change it to “Waist not, want not” to keep the weight off. lol.


  2. Karen Shoemaker Avatar
    Karen Shoemaker

    So good to be reconnected with your blog Dayle! Thanks for the reminder to look at all the other beauty. 😉


    1. Aw, sweet friend, you are so kind and encouraging. The longer I’m with these grands, the more I’m hearing Sloane say, “I don’t like that. It’s plain.” I’m wondering how often I think that even if I don’t say it? I miss you, KarBear!


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