The Bent Petals

Last night I had the chance to go to the temple, and I grabbed it. For those of you who are not Mormon, the temple is not a place for our weekly services, but is instead a special “House of the Lord” where we go for additional teaching, learning and to perform services for our ancestors. It’s a place we hold sacred and its somewhere we can retreat to when we are needing guidance, answers to prayers, or just to feel closer to God. Not all Mormons go to the temple, but a great many of us do- myself included- and I love living close enough to one that I can pop in on a few moments notice.

Each temple has a Celestial Room, which is a room for us to gather when we are done with the services we participated in, and where we can sit, meditate, pray privately, talk quietly with friends or family, or just hang out because it feels good to be there. The room is different in every temple, but it’s always incredibly beautiful and peaceful.

Last night, I found myself alone in the Celestial Room. This doesn’t happen often- people always filter in and out- so I sat down on the plush sofa, curled my knees up beneath myself, and let my mind roam. Uninterrupted time is a rarity for me, and to sit, alone, in a lovely, quiet room and have time stretch before me was a such a beautiful luxury- the soaring ceilings, leaded windows, sprays of flowers and twinkling chandeliers all drew my mind up and out and opened me- and that was the whole point. Of course God can be found anywhere and is everywhere… but sometimes removing oneself from the chaos of life for a tiny bit helps quiet the mind and allows one to find spaces where we can hear things we need to hear.

As my mind wandered, I found myself looking at the giant spray of spring roses filling a vase on a table. Each flower was so beautiful- and yet when I looked closely, each petal was unique, different- bent here or there, a curl in the edge, a tiny ripple in the textured leaf, a frill here, smooth simplicity there- yet the imperfect petals, when placed in the context of being a flower, became perfect roses. And each rose, a collection of imperfectness, then was part of a greater bouquet which in turn became a breathtaking masterpiece.

It think this is what we all are- Imperfect Petals. We are made perfect is what and how we put ourselves in God’s hands and allow him to do with us what he wants. When we beat ourselves up for having bent our petal, or for our edges not being as smooth as the petal next to us, we are devaluing the beauty and perfection that lies beyond ourselves. I don’t think God cares so much about the marks on us nearly as much as we do- because he sees the whole rose, and knows if the petals were all perfect, the rose would not be so beautiful, not so perfect as a finished masterpiece. It’s the differences and so-called flaws that create the beauty.

Life is going to mark us. We are going to be bruised, torn and scarred by what happens here. But it doesn’t matter- not one bit. The bend of my petals is what makes me useful to God, what makes me unique, and precious. God does not need- nor want- me to be like anyone else, perfect copies of each other; indeed, such an idea is an affront. We only have to trust, and know that we are loved, and hand ourselves, flaws and all, over to God, in order to be made perfect.

See what happens when a mama gets a little time alone?

17 thoughts on “The Bent Petals

  1. Wait just a cotton pickin second…. Your celestial room has live flowers??? I am SO jealous. See what I just did there? I broke a commandment while talking about the temple…

  2. That was such a wonderful way to see that small moment and I am so thankful to have read it. My DH and I are heading to the Temple tomorrow and I cannot wait to look at the flowers (silk but still wonderful) and think about what you said here …..

  3. I found your blog through a Segullah link and have read it off and on. I am so glad I did today. This is beautiful. I soooo needed this today! Thank you.

  4. I watch for your entries. You are real, raw and exquisitely passionate. I thank you for sharing. When I first began reading your blogs I sensed that I had found a treasure! You continually prove my instinct right!
    Bravo!

  5. I said this over on BCC, but this is a wonderful complement to Elder Wirthlin’s orchestra analogy in his talk “Concern for the One” – my favorite General Conference talk of all time. I am sure I will be using it in multiple talks in the future.

  6. This lovely experience was shared in our Relief Society meeting today. Such a strong spirit was felt. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  7. A friend read blog entry of mine and shared this with me because she thought it was something I would enjoy. It greatly touched my heart. I needed this reminder as I try to heal. I realize now. I need not worry about the “scars” and imperfections I have from this life. I don’t need to try and hide them from others view, because as you reminded my Heavenly Father loves me even with my unperfect petals. Thank you!

  8. i just wanted you to know that i used this post in my RS lesson last month- full credit goes to you and this post for helping me convey the message i felt inspired to share! I’m finally getting around to forwarding the link to the sisters, as several would love to re-read it an pass it on.
    thanks for a truly needed, beautiful message!

  9. Garden flowers,so much more beautiful than silk. I love that they grow old and die,which is I think the essence of beauty as we know it in mortality.

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