He has made everything beautiful in its time.
The flower arranging class last night did not go well. We were to learn how to arrange dry flowers. For two weeks I have combed the fields for seed pods, cat tails, goldenrod and wild purple asters. I found these wonderful white balls of flowers in my back yard—they are about five inches long and three wide tinged in a pretty pink and they dried perfectly. I felt well prepared with my materials and had chosen a homemade basket for my container.
When we arrived, laden with paper bags overflowing, we began sorting and laying out our wild treasures – arranging them in a row on the long tables.
Our instructor told us to begin by defining the perimeters of our containers. This meant that, after inserting a block of foam in the basket I was to start hiding it with statice or some other medium. That was more or less the end of our instruction. Everyone was busy arranging – they all seemed to know exactly what to do. I guess I expected more specific instruction – like step-by-step; do this, now do that. Well, what could I do? I just kept poking stalks of flowers in my basket, turning it, poking in some more.
Before I knew it, the teacher was setting up the pedestal in the front of the room. One by one we must take our finished arrangement up, place it on the pedestal, and be critiqued by the class. I wanted to take my flowers and bolt from the room. Each woman carried her finished product to the front. Some were beautiful, perfect in composition and design. Others drew a few comments – add this, move that. I put it off as long as possible, but finally I knew I must go up.
I placed my arrangement on the pedestal and stood beside it with a fake smile plastered on my face. No comment. Nothing. The instructor asked for someone to say something. Silence. I was so embarrassed I could have dropped through the floor. I’m sure the teacher could sense my discomfort and quickly critiqued my sad floral display, telling me it was too massive at the top, not enough contrast at the bottom. On and on. When the ordeal was finished, I quickly gathered up my prize and returned to my seat. I was mortified. I felt every eye staring at me and my pitiful flowers. I’ll never come back, I thought. Dear Lord, just let me get through this night and out of here.
After a while, my stubborn German disposition emerged and I decided I would not quit. I would come back next week, and the week after that. I had paid for this class and I could surely learn something from it!
My masterpiece is sitting on my kitchen table and as I look at it my face still turns red as I think about the class. I would like to tear it apart and start over but I must shower and get ready for work. Maybe when I get home tonight I can begin again and transform this basket into a thing of beauty. There is always hope.
Excerpt from the Journal of Elizabeth “Betty” Garrigues
Photo by Aaron Paul Lazar