Calla Lilies are my favorite flower. They’re strong, graceful, elegant, and beautiful. Jim bought me a calla lily plant for Mother’s Day in 2019. It did well and I kept it alive, although it didn’t produce more flowers after the first season.
Then last fall, it died. Or so I thought.
I almost threw it out, but chemo, a book deadline, and an upcoming road trip and writers workshop meant the pot full of dirt stayed in its spot by the window.
A couple of weeks ago I noticed something green poking up out of that dirt. It kept growing and growing, and now there are leaves unfurling. My calla lily is back! What I thought was dead was merely resting. It was taking a break from all of that growing and doing.
What an obvious metaphor, eh? But appropriate, and very timely.
Like many, I’m sure, I felt like I lost most of 2020. It was like I couldn’t think. It was enough just to not lose my sh*t on a daily basis. I tried writing my book, but it would be weeks between completed chapters. Forget writing articles for my sites, sending emails to my subscribers, or keeping up with social media. The constant fear of the pandemic, the non-stop bullying and narcissism from the White House, and my own health concerns were enough to paralyze me. For the first time in my life, I was forced to stop my constant churn of activity and rest. I had no choice but to take a break.
Then a funny thing happened. A couple of weeks after my last Red Devil treatment, I began to feel good again. The nausea was gone, as was the fatigue. I still had to pee every two hours and I still haven’t slept more than three in a row, but after months I felt, dare I say it, normal.
Since then I’ve felt more like “me” than I have in a very, very long time. Even pre-pandemic, I felt like I wasn’t quite the happy, chipper person I’d considered myself to be. I used to wake up bursting with energy. Instead, I was waking up worried, stressed, and often angry. I know it was the the barrage of anger and conflict oozing out of all of my social media accounts, but since I need them for my job, I couldn’t turn them off.
Now, while there is still lots to be angry about, in the last several months I’ve learned how much good is in my world. I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it over and over and over: People are kind. People are good. We are more alike than different. This knowledge has been a constant source of sunshine, and when I thought maybe I’d lost my light and wouldn’t get it back, it’s returned in force. I’m freaking blooming, man. Ideas are sprouting so quickly I have to jot them down so they don’t take up extra space because more are going to pop up. I’m racing through the final chapters of my book and my writing is the best it’s ever been. My very picky parents and my very exacting editor are making so few criticisms I’ve had to confirm they’re not just being nice because c-h-e-m-o. (They’re not.) I’ve had so many creative ideas for the writers workshop that I’m having to rank them because I won’t have time to include all of them. I wake up and practically jump out of bed, and Jim is learning to act like he’s not up if I come back into the bedroom or else I’ll let loose a string of excitement that will keep him from ever getting back to sleep.
It’s magical, I tell you. Magical!
Rest. It’s not the rest I would have chosen. I didn’t choose it. It was forced on me. But it’s taught me a lesson that I am going to hold onto. Rest is vital. It is necessary. You cannot push yourself constantly and expect to grow.
Take a break. Hide for a bit, if you need to, and then come back and unfurl those leaves like the miracle you are.
And then be a calla lily and bloom, baby, bloom.