My neighbor’s peonies blossomed long before mine and are bigger and more vibrant. What gives?
Perhaps she is better than me, and that means her peonies are superior too. I mean, maybe she has done everything she is supposed to do and is being rewarded with beautiful peonies. I know she is a good person – kind to the old people who live by themselves, and she treats everyone with respect, probably pays her taxes, and gives to charity. I also know I have a couple moral deficits from my past that probably work against me in this, not to mention obvious defects of character, so maybe the peony deficit is my punishment.
On the other hand, sometimes peonies that blossom slowly bloom longer. Peonies that some might view as defective or disabled, may simply be that way in order to promote an unexpected good. Maybe my peonies haven’t bloomed with vigor yet so that everyone will think God has abandoned us only to discover in a few weeks, we have the biggest, most amazingly vibrant peonies in the neighborhood! That’s it. It is a trial to test my faith and to teach my neighbors a lesson about pride.
But why did the little peony bush in the back die over the winter? It was so tender and sweet, totally innocent and it never did anything to any other peony. Maybe God just wanted that little peony in heaven. Surely God loved that peony so much that God killed it in order that it would bloom in heaven. You think?
I have a friend who says, “peonies just happen.” That’s all, peonies happen. Sometimes they happen with splendor, sometimes they happen with average flowering, and sometimes they happen like mine now. But he says it is all just random. If I thought peonies just happened, then why would I ever fertilize, prune, water or do anything to take care of my peonies? If there is nothing we can do to protect our peonies from random events in life – there is no reward or punishment for being a good or bad gardener – then why not just go out at night and destroy our neighbors’ nice peonies while saturating our own with fertilizers and weed killers that pollute the earth but cause our peonies to grow to enormous size? Does being a good gardener have motives deeper or stronger than the reward of its outcomes?
Then again, sometimes I think we do not understand peonies at all. Why some peonies prosper and others do not may have a lot to do with measurable data, like soil enzymes and biome, gardener aptitude, knowledge, and skill, and weather patterns. But even then, there is a gap in what we know and do and the peony outcomes that happen. Some will attribute that to the peonies themselves, some to the gardener, some to a sacred mystery. Rather than the various gardening clubs fighting about it, it seems better to me to just admit no one really knows and enjoy the peonies in all their strange and wonderful varieties.
There are peonies growing in my yard but honestly, I do not understand them.