Weekly Message from T. J.

The Rose Petal Rebellion

The scene was perfect. Rippling water lapped against the shore of the hidden lake. Small beautiful structures, windows and doors wide-open, let guests mingle and move freely with icy beverages in hand. The perfect rows of white chairs gave form to the place where so many have walked so many times to make so many vows. I took my place at the end of the aisle and awaited the procession of those who were helping to make this day one of the happiest most memorable days of the couple’s life. Now it was time for my friends to be wed. Everything was perfect.

The music started. The groomsmen descended the stairs, then the bridesmaids. The bride’s parents took their place at the foot of the stairs to receive their daughter, but not before the all-important flower girls had their moment to shine. Down the stairs they came, baskets in hand filled with rose petals. They’d received their instructions about what to do and they planned to follow them perfectly. So it was a little surprising when one of the flower girls, before reaching the very first row of chairs, simply put down the white wicker basket filled with petals, crossed her arms, and stomped away.

Now, I think we all understand the merits of a good work stoppage and protest now and again. But I think we can all agree that a flower girl approaching the aisle of a wedding refusing to lay down the flowers might be a bridge too far. We were at a loss to understand what might have happened, so we chalked it up to a childish temperament. Perhaps she didn’t get her way, wanting to be first. Maybe she felt like someone wasn’t paying attention to her, so she bailed.

And really, these are feelings many of us experience in any community where we take part. Maybe we don’t get our way. Maybe we feel that our needs are not being met. But we might also assume a lot by someone’s actions. We might see someone elect not to take part in something and then assume that choosing not to take part has something to do with not getting their way or feeling left out. We might see the two things as related. But this logic, this assumption, is often false.

After talking with the flower girl, through tears over the upset she sensed from so many around her, she explained that she was only following directions. “You all told me to get to the bottom of the stairs, put down the flowers, then go stand with mom.” She was only following perfectly the directions she’d been given. The only point she was making was the point of following exactly what she was told would make this a special day. We laughed and congratulated her on a job well done. And as the long day wound to a close, the flower girl asleep in her auntie’s arms, unbothered now by the day’s drama, all the adults laughing at what they thought they knew, all was exactly as the couple had planned: perfect.

And may it ever be so.

Rev. T. J.

5 Responses to “Weekly Message from T. J.

  1. This is a beautiful example of the importance of “checking assumptions by asking questions and verifying facts,” one of the tenets of our Covenant of Right Relations! A very sweet and charming example, indeed! Sounds like it was a beautiful wedding.

  2. I want to say” blessed are the children, for they teach us many lessons”?

  3. This was very timely for me, as I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts about false assumptions, particularly the ones which happen in our past and then shape our feelings for decades to come. And I’ve been struggling to re-frame those memories and let go of old guilts. This sweet and funny story of the flower girl, who has now created a wonderful memory for everyone involved, is a good reminder. 🙂

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