Friday, July 10, 2020

Red Leafed Silver Linings

I am a receptionist at a high school, but I do a lot more than answer the phone and help visitors who come through the front door to the school. One of my many responsibilities is to post the school's daily bulletin. When the pandemic was declared, and all the schools were forced into distance teaching and learning, my principal had re-vamped the bulletin so that it would be more or less "live" and accessible by any student or parent anytime of the day. My new responsibility was to keep the bulletin up-to-date as new information came in. It was easy enough. 

The pandemic and everything associated with it was new territory for every single one of us. This new territory, this new way of life, made me nervous, so I knew others would be, too. When I'm nervous, my mind tries to quickly find solutions. I can't stop my mind from trying to find a silver lining in any uncomfortable or unknown situation. I firmly believe in everything there is good, you just have to look for it. When you find it, fear of the unknown is easier to handle and accept. I saw an opportunity to reach out to others with the new way of creating and sharing the bulletin. So, I asked my principal if I could start a new section to the bulletin, a Silver Linings Section, where I would write about the positives of our new pandemic world. In the new section, I encouraged others to send me their silver lining moments, and few times, I had someone send me something, but it was mostly all me. It was a challenge, but I had a responsibility. I enjoyed the challenge and wrote something uplifting every day.

When the school year ended, I had developed a following of sorts, fans made up of students, parents, and teachers. I was blessed with their emails telling me how they enjoyed my silver linings every day. A few people told me I should start a blog, that if I did, they would read it.

So, I started this blog. 

But, writing this blog hasn't been nearly as easy for me as my daily requirement of writing a silver lining for the school's daily bulletin was. I can't quite put my finger on why I'm dragging my feet about my blog, why I'm finding it difficult to write for this when it came so easily for the daily bulletin. I think the difference is that I was trying to uplift people with my silver linings for the bulletin. I had a reason. I wanted to make people feel less nervous about the pandemic. There was purpose for my writing. I was writing for high school students and/or anyone who was interested in what I had to write. And it's not that I write in any profound sort of way. I just wrote my thoughts based around something currently happening in everybody's world, but I tried to make it uplifting and maybe funny.

For my blog, I currently don't have an audience. I'm just writing. I'm more or less writing for and to myself. That seems a little self-absorbed. It's not part of my personality. I'm a people-pleaser. I like to make others happy. So, it's taken me a little while to get started. I can't seem to find my groove.

 I was out in my garden the other day. I love when a rose bush grows. Rose bush leaves are green, but most times, they start out a very deep red, almost burgundy color. I took a few pictures of different red leaves, bursting into this life. They were so small, so tender. They were the very beginning of something that would eventually be very beautiful.

I started to wonder how I would write a silver lining about the beautiful, tiny red leaves. I wanted to somehow use the red leaves that eventually grow into the stems of beautiful roses as some sort of symbol for myself and my struggle with writing for my blog. There's something about those little red leaves that made me think about my struggle. So, here it goes.

When a rose blooms and it is trimmed from the bush to be enjoyed indoors, that trimmed spot on the stem will stay dormant for a little while. It's almost as if the rose bush needs to recover from losing the rose it grew. It's a small shock to its system. But, in time, above the first five-leaf spread below the trim, the rose bush will start to grow again. It will start slowly. There will be a little bump, and after a few days, small red leaves will make their silent explosion into their new world. After a few more days, the leaves will become larger, additional red leaves will follow their lead, and the original leaves will start turning green. In time, as more and more leaves come forth, they will reach towards the sun, growing taller and stretching into a branch with many green leaves. And thorns. Let's not forget the thorns. The thorns are part of the rose bush's personality. It's protecting itself from the certain loss it knows will eventually come. But, it can't stop itself from wanting to produce another thing of beauty; and after many days, the small red leaves, all now large and green, a new rose bud begins to grow. 

How does this relate to my hesitance or my fear of writing in my new blog? How is this a silver lining for me? What can I use as a symbol for my writing? Well, when I write, I love it. I love the process, I love the finished product. Once I get started writing, I become excited and can't stop myself until I am finished, especially if I am writing for someone or something. I'm a great letter writer because of this. I know I am putting words on paper to be read and appreciated by another person. This is how I felt with writing for the school's daily bulletin. But, once my writing is done, once my letter or project is over, I go dormant. I am like the rose bush that has had a rose trimmed away for someone to enjoy. I think this is how I feel at this moment. I had a reason to write for the daily bulletin. When I started, I sprouted my red leaves, and I grew and grew. I stretched, and my thorns were there, protecting me because I knew, eventually, I was giving a part of myself away. But, I wrote and wrote, stretched and stretched, reaching into the world and growing my beautiful rose.

Then, it ended. My rose was trimmed. I was appreciated for the time I spent writing, but it ended. So, now I'm a little in shock. I'm a little dormant. But, I know eventually I will have more than myself to write for. I know my red leaves will grow. In fact, this is my third blog post. This is the beginning, and I'm really enjoying it. I'm really enjoying writing and finding the silver lining in my rose bush's red leaves. I love trying to assimilate the red leaves to the early stages of my blog. 

I think I will continue with my writing as the mood strikes. It is something I take joy in. And, even though I take the chance of many roses being trimmed, it's not necessarily a bad thing. After all, many trimmed roses create a beautiful bouquet than can be enjoyed by many!


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