Enjoying life’s bouquet

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (stljewishlight.com).   Joel Iskiwitch and John DeMott, authors of the  “What can you do?”  sidebar, are congregants at TE.

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

I have a friend who does not like fresh flowers. She has admonished her husband against bringing them home for her birthday, anniversary or as a random act of love. Why? She views them as a waste of money. Flowers die and she is left with nothing.

I have just come from visiting a member of our congregational family in the hospital. As I walked past rooms and nurses stations, I smiled at the lovely arrangements of flowers. They brought a message of cheer and life to an institution that can bring fear and apprehension. The pop of colors made feel warm on a cold day.

As I thought about these two contrasting notions, it occurred to me that life is a lot like flowers. We enjoy the beauty, color and fragrance until they are no more. Not everyone likes the same flowers or arrangements. Like life, we can select a variety of types changing our minds each time. As in life, we have many paths to travel and choices to make. Each flower purchase is an opportunity to try something new or return to the comfort of a known and steady favorite.

Life and flowers come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. People attribute meaning to the language of flowers. Others simply enjoy without looking for a deeper meaning. When I have flowers at home, I feel much more in the moment and appreciative of the day lilies I enjoy so much. I know they will fade and wither, but for the day or week I emotionally flourish when greeted with their aroma and lovely appearance.