My petunia bloomed today. One single, beautiful flower that to me, signifies so much more.
You see, normally I can’t grow a damn thing. Ask my boyfriend, whose tree he planted in my backyard a few months ago, now dead, lying in a stinky, smelly junkyard somewhere, littered with used toilet paper and chewing gum wrappers. Ask my Aunt Judy who helped me plant several desert hardy plants a few years ago in this same backyard. Today? There’s not even a whisper of a reminder that they ever graced God’s green earth.
I swear I try to take care of my plants – water, sun, Miracle Gro – all to no avail. Except the cacti – oh yes – they survive if only to attack me every now and then!
So why am I so excited about a single petunia? It may be because I have such fond memories of my Grandma Oeltjen’s front yard planter, which in the spring time was a bloom with hundreds of petunias – white ones, purple ones with pink splashes, red ones, pink ones with white streaks. I will never forget grandma’s German accented voice calling out from behind the screen door as my sisters and I would wobble along the brick lining that encased the beautiful flowers, trying to balance ourselves to see who could walk the farthest, “Now kids, don’t you go falling into the flowers! I just planted them!” Ironically, the only other way to fall was three feet down onto her lawn, most likely resulting in some form of bodily injury. She truly took pride in her petunias.
When I was old enough to have a place of my own and my grandma had long since passed, petunias were the only plant that not only survived in my presence, but thrived. To me, they were my grandma’s way of sending me smiles down from heaven.
I thought I’d lost this last petunia plant to a few harsh freezes this past winter in the desert. However, the plant remained a vigilant lush green for the past few weeks, giving me the slightest whisper of hope that it might still one day bloom. I prepared myself for the worst, despite watering it daily; hoping and praying for some sign of the colorful, aromatic flower to reappear. Today I was rewarded for my patience with one single purple explosion staring out at me from the mass of green leaves surrounding it. Grandma had smiled on me once more.
I think so many of our lives mirror this transformation. We want to see change in our lives and we want it immediately. I fight this battle daily in my new writing journey. I want to be published, to be an overnight success, to have my writing career bloom just as my grandma’s beautiful petunias did when she was alive. But we are not in control of this crazy thing called life, and if anything is worth the having, it’s worth the wait.
Just like my petunia, we grow at God’s pace. He knows when it is our time to bloom.
Michelle Oeltjen participated in a 10 Day Book Club and enhanced her manuscript for publishing.
“I highly enjoyed working with Gayle and utilizing her site (10DBC) to assist me in gaining invaluable feedback on my first book. The process was easy, effective and just what I needed to help me along in my editing process. I very much recommend 10DBC to aspiring writers just starting out.” Michelle Oeltjen, Author “Love, Lies and Lessons Learned”
Michelle grew up on a farm in small town Nebraska, dreaming of a future in acting or singing. Just ask the cornfields. I used to envision them as my crowd of thousands, waving their green arms back and forth while I belted out “Like a Virgin” in my best eight-year-old voice, waiting for my dad to finish checking rows in the field.
Deciding a more practical approach to life was needed, I set about on the standard course of life: High school, college, good paying job, marriage, children. Except I stopped after getting the good paying job. Marriage and children? Maybe down the road, but for now, it’s just me.
Reading and writing (along with singing to the cornfields) was always an escape for me growing up. Beautiful as farm life was, it wasn’t for me. I often described it with another “b” word…boring. So I took off for the big city of Lincoln, NE where I studied Psychology as an undergrad and Business Administration as a grad student. (Go Big Red!)
I then set forth on my journey to Phoenix, where I worked at Intel for nine years and decided in May of 2010 to leave corporate America to pursue my passion of writing.
In addition to my writing career, I am a partner at J Hilburn, an online men’s clothier. Our motto is “Luxury within Reach”. My goal is to make this world a better place, one well-dressed man at a time.