Most times, the thing you think you really want, is elusive. Sometimes, what you have, doesn’t seem enough, or even exactly right. Life is a succession of opportunities, challenges, and choices. It is also hardship, and struggle. Just when you feel a little comfortable, something, or someone, can come along and blow all that right out of the water. All the hope, even all of the planning in the world, will only take you so far. Seems like people always want guarantees. And as I have viewed this world, there are no guarantees.
One time when my little car was limping along on three used tires, and one losing air real fast, I drove it 10 miles on a wing and a prayer, to the only junkyard in the county, in hopes they might have a tire for me, better than I had. One I might afford.
I pulled in, over to the yard area, where piles of metal junk covered the landscape. And in between all this rusty twisted metal, were cars, all abandoned, being parted out, in different stages of deconstruction, just like any junkyard. But something happened in that moment, as I looked out over the strange image before me, like the sun suddenly shined brighter, and everything else was obscured. Somehow diminished.
A young man came running toward my car. As he approached, I could see the sweat pouring off his arms. Summer in Texas is brutal, and this day was no exception. He came up to my side and and looked in my window, and said, “Hi! What can I do for you?” And I said, “Uh…. uh…. Oh! I just need a tire. I have a front tire on the other side going flat.”
In life, there are certain defining moments. And sometimes, there are just moments in time, that happen randomly. Unexpectedly. Moments that you will always remember. That change your life. Beautiful moments, that years later, you never forget. This moment, was the moment I saw Charlie.
In the midst of all that nasty junk, out in the hottest of suns, with sweat in pools all over his forehead, on his neck, and in his eyes, I was struck. Like a lightning bolt from above, I was surely struck. I will never forget his eyes, as long as I live, and probably beyond. He was grinning from ear to ear, just like he won the lottery, and the water from his eyebrows was dripping all down into his eyes, eyes as green as irisdescent emeralds, so green and sparkling, it caught my breath. And his eyelashes were thick and long, and all completely spiked around those beautiful green eyes, like nothing I had ever seen before, or likely ever will again. Those spiked lashes, formed from the sweat of his own brow, captured the beauty and intensity of these eyes, and frankly, I have a hard time remembering what happened next, or how I even got back home.
Life is funny like that. Absolutely no guarantees will you find. And if you do, they are false. But it seems that when you least expect it, beauty, simplicity and grace, will show itself, if only you have the eyes to see. Life is difficult for most of us, if not all. It can throw you down, and stomp on your heart. You can feel lost, forgotten, even broken. But in those unexpected moments, a light from above comes down and strikes your old heart. Like a jumpstart. And suddenly you see that flower in the junkyard. You don’t have to have any one set of beliefs, or adhere to a strict guideline of behavior for this to happen. It is a direct and unshakeable knowing. A place without fear or doubts. And like all things, it may be fleeting. You might wake up one morning with green eyes sleeping beside you, and the next, reading a stark and unembellished obituary. The beautiful light from those green eyes has been removed, taken away, lost from the view of earthly concerns. And it will tear you up inside. It will rock your very being. And you will walk alone through a world that does not care. No guarantees.
Maybe we all look for a ray of hope in this crazy world. We all come from nothing, and that is surely where we return. But once, maybe even twice, in a lifetime, you see a flower growing in a junkyard. Amidst all the sharp edges and harsh realities of life, you find an exquisite and perfect blossom, growing each minute, each second, just for the sheer opportunity to reach for the sun. In this world we find ourselves in today, it’s important to look for flowers, and when we find them, admire and remember all that they give us. It’s important when we feel broken and so sad, to remember these flowers, and how they had no regrets, not for their struggle, and not for their eventual death. Their life was made for the one tiny instant they brought beauty and joy into this world, and nothing more. Life is simple like that.
And if you can’t find such a flower, be the flower. If everything around you seems in ruins, and your health is failing you, and you have more loss than love, you be the flower. You be the gorgeous delicate blossom, unique and forever innocent. You be that flower in the junkyard. And if God does shine down on you, maybe the right person will happen along and notice you, and be forever changed in that moment.
Be a flower in the junkyard. Just be that!