I have a dozen bougainvillea planted or potted around our property. If you’ve been around here for any amount of time, you know I can’t help it. I’m slightly obsessed. But over the last few weeks, as our El Nino rain fell, my bougainvillea turned to twigs. Flowerless.
And then, seemingly out of nowhere, heat descended here in So Cal. We’ve had temperatures in the UPPER 90s (!) all week. What. In. The. As one of my dear friends and followers put it, “It’s hard not to take this heat personally.” Exactly.
And as much as I love a cool rainy day and a fire in the fireplace — and I do — I have to admit that this heat wave has done wonders for my bougainvillea. I walked around the house this morning and where there had been sticks just days ago, little leaves, petals, blooms . . . are emerging. Ugghhhh. The itsy bitsy fuchsia buds are so tender and so vibrant. The whole scene is enough to make you weep.
Like this one . . .
At the very end of the brittle branches, little buds are pushing through. And this particular plant is beginning to vine it’s way up the stucco wall. It’s literally pure magic.
Beauty emerging. What’s more profound?
I’ve been noticing an odd thing I do recently. I spend a lot of time apologizing for myself. Do you do this too? I’m just standing in the grocery store, looking at grapefruits, and someone comes up beside me to look too, and my immediate reaction is to apologize for taking up space. “Oh, I’m sorry.”
I have a vulnerable conversation with a friend, and I leave feeling like I’ve said too much, like I am too much. I run to my phone to text my concern and a caveat and an apology. “So sorry. I know that was way too much.”
Maybe it’s harmless. But I wonder.
I’m more and more convinced that God is pretty much always trying to tell us, “Yeah, I got it. You’re not perfect. But do you know you’re beautiful?” You are brittle twigs and you are flowering vines and you are dormant beauty and you are flashing fuchsia. And it’s all beautiful. Let. Yourself. Emerge.
Some of you have never had anyone in your whole life tell you that you’re beautiful. And so it’s very hard for you to believe that what’s inside you is gold. And I want to be a voice that presses into those places of self-doubt inside you. I want to be a voice that tells you . . .
It’s OK to let us see you. It’s OK to bloom, blossom, vine. It’s OK. You don’t have to shrink for fear of actually being seen. You don’t have to whisper for fear of actually being heard.
You do not have to apologize for yourself anymore. You are allowed to take up space in your life and in this world.
Beautiful, uninhibited, creative space.