I had to chuck a chicken this morning. My man warned me one wasn’t doing well so I wasn’t surprised when I went out to feed them today and she was laying face first in the mud. But I hate it, nonetheless. I grabbed my shovel, scooped her up and walked out as far into the field as I could and hurled her with all my might. Sigh.
I walked back around the corner by the beehives and noticed minimal to no activity. They were just buzzing beautifully last week. I opened up the side window to see what was going on….silence…that’s what was going on…absolutely nothing.
My garden is experiencing what I call summer time sadness. Weeds have taken over, the green bean plants are half bunny eaten, the cucumbers are drying up, the zucchinis are pitiful, the corn stalks look ready for fall décor, the lima plants need pulled. Winter is coming.
My neck of the woods is feeling a little decapitated this morning. Maybe you know the feeling.
Then I noticed something as I was turning around to head towards the garden gate, a spot of hope, a ray of light…
The Zinnias are still blooming.
I had a choice. I could focus on all the things that have gone wrong today (already). Or I could look for the zinnias. I could let a million things get me down. Or I could see the beauty before me in the midst of the million.
Interestingly, I had to look up to see it. The zinnias were standing head and shoulders above the sad surroundings of the rest of the garden.
I know, I know. I’m not trying to be a perky Pollyanna who’s blowing heart shaped happy out of her hookah pipe. Life can be hard. Way harder than a dead chicken, bees and plants.
When life zaps you with zingers, look for the zinnias. They are everywhere if we would only look up, beyond our circumstance, above the noise, shining bright and offering a hand.
As a woman of faith, sometimes my Zinnias look like…
Prayer. Because God knows I enter that closet not because I’m super spiritual and strong but because I’m just the opposite.
Scripture. His word is powerful. Don’t discount it. Read it. Do it. Memorize it. Meditate on it.
Meditation. Stilling the mind is a practice that must be perfected so when life sends a colony of stinger zingers, I can quiet the buzzing. (Don’t give this away as some Eastern voodoo kind of thing.)
Zinnias can also look like…
Coffee with a friend who is safe for you. There is something about being heard and validated that gives you the strength to keep going.
Being a friend. Sometimes when we ourselves are struggling it helps to help someone else. It gets us out of our own funk.
A counselor or pastor. It’s okay to say you’re not okay. It’s okay to seek professional help because sometimes the venom from stings just gets in too deep.
A note given or a note received. Ever gotten a letter, text, card, shout out, word, encouragement (whatever form of communication you choose) at the exact moment you needed one? Ever sent one having no idea how badly the recipient needed to hear it?
A meal, a visit, a smile, a hug, a pat, an understanding, a reassurance, a laugh, a cry, a kindness.
These are all Zinnias.
Then there’s this little thing called gratitude. It sure sounds lame as you’re looking at that stinger pulsating its venom. But there’s something about having an attitude of gratitude.
Renowned cognitive neuroscientist and brain expert, Dr. Caroline Leaf says, when you are thankful your brain releases nerve growth factors that help change the brain (neuroplasticity.)
Thankfulness is like plastic surgery for your attitude and it’s free!
Research expert and author, Dr. Brene’ Brown says, There is no joy without gratitude and joy collected over time fuels resilience.
While your circumstances may not change right away, your way of thinking can. Who doesn’t want to build resilience (that bounce back ability) to zingers? One of the ways we do this is by finding something (anything) to be grateful for in whatever our circumstance.
When life throws you zingers, look up! There’s a zinnia close by.