By Mary Ann Metzger
The yucca stood tall, stately with pride; it takes several years for a plant such as this to produce a bloom of outstanding beauty. Then one year the tall stalk of buds finally bloomed, and with its strong spine portraying a bit of arrogance. But in the heat of a hot summer night it collapsed, bent to disrepair.
It was a humbling sight and saddened us to a state of remorse. What is this, anyhow, wallowing in our sorrow over a simple plant?
Surely it was not just this bloom, but the uncertainty of life, as it is very easy to be crestfallen and have our pride taken away. I recall the day I was in an antique shop and spotted a ruby ring with a diamond in the center. It fit perfectly and I thought, what a great find. I justified the purchase as it was my 55th wedding anniversary.
Feeling a bit sheepish doing this without my husband’s approval, I convinced myself he would approve.
I was feeling proud wearing the ring when at a glance I noticed the center diamond had fallen out. Quickly I got on my hands and knees, wondering how something can fall right in front of you and you cannot spot it. Then there it was, a speck of sparkle.
I headed to the jewelers to have it reset, and on returning it to me he said, “You realize this is not a diamond but a piece of glass.” My heart sunk; how could I be so naive? Seeing my disappointment, he said not to worry as it was a very old ring. The two side stones were rubies, and the centerpiece of glass was typical for that era. He valued it at more than double what I paid.
I got out of that episode easy, but it taught me about greed. Often seeking a bit of glory for ourselves or when we are feeling mighty confident, we are humbled, as was the beautiful yucca.
Now at this stage of my life, those in our age group who stood strong and proud are humbled in the process of aging. Our spines are not as strong as they once were and our stature is shorter.
I noticed when looking in one of those trifold mirrors while trying on a dress for my granddaughter’s wedding that I, too, no longer stood tall. It happens in life; the years creep up in the passing of time. There is no halting it, but we take each day and do our best to enjoy with a humble heart.
Oh, there are good days and bad days, but isn’t that the way of life, from the very young to the older generation. In these later years of our life we have learned so much by trial and error. It is a changing world and we tend to look back at the “good old days” and wallow in our conservative views.
We have learned a lot from our mistakes, and in this changing world would like to step to the podium with our two cents. However, as we accept the changing of the guard with silence it is our hope that the new generations can learn from our mistakes, and continue to appreciate all the gains our knowledge and hard work have accomplished.
We pass the torch – our eyesight may not be as good but our insight has grown. And as I watch the gigantic fuchsia blooms on my tree peony wither and fall, the rhododendrons shed their vibrant colors and the blossoms of the golden chain tree subside, I will look forward to next year when they will shine again.
We must proceed with caution in life, as even in the beauty of the golden chain tree it can be very toxic, and must be lived with care.
Life is fragile, “handle with prayer.”