Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Encore azaleas are my favorite perennial flowering shrubs. The warm days of spring call them forth from their winter slumber into a glorious display that lasts for weeks. As the last days of summer heat wind down and trees turn red, orange, and yellow, the Encores put on another show. "Look at me" they seem to say as other summer flowers are in their last hurrah. Isn't life like that? We start out in our youth with fresh idealism. The world is our oyster and we are going to make it a better place. Our careers will be rewarding and profitable. We are going to do a better job than our parents in our marriages and raising our children. Time stretches before us in a long unbroken line like a railroad track heading west through the plains. Then life happens. The reality of unfulfilled dreams, chronic illness, family strife, and broken promises intrudes and we are left wondering what happened. We struggle to find meaning in life and strength for each day. Our pain causes us to look for the still small voice of God and we are renewed. Our life experiences teach us and we find we are strong. As we approach the fall of our life, we have a measure of freedom to be the person we always wanted to be. There seems to be a bit more time to pursue new hobbies and interests. Others appreciate our wisdom learned in the school of hard knocks. It is our chance to make an encore and bloom one more time..