Bent Petals

Last night I had the chance to go to the temple, and I grabbed it. For the rare BCC reader not Mormon, the temple is not a place for our weekly services, but is instead a special “House of the Lord” where we go for additional teaching, learning and to perform services for our ancestors. It’s a place we hold sacred and its somewhere we can retreat to when we are needing guidance, answers to prayers, or just to feel closer to God. Not all Mormons go to the temple, but a great many of us do- myself included- and I love living close enough to one that I can pop in on a few moments notice.

Each temple has a Celestial Room, which is a room for us to gather when we are done with the services we participated in, and where we can sit, meditate, pray privately, talk quietly with friends or family, or just hang out because it feels good to be there. The room is different in every temple, but it’s always incredibly beautiful and peaceful.

Last night, I found myself alone in the Celestial Room. This doesn’t happen often- people always filter in and out- so I sat down on the plush sofa, curled my knees up beneath myself, and let my mind roam. Uninterrupted time is a rarity for me, and to sit, alone, in a lovely, quiet room and have time stretch before me was a such a beautiful luxury- the soaring ceilings, leaded windows, sprays of flowers and twinkling chandeliers all drew my mind up and out and opened me- and that was the whole point. Of course God can be found anywhere and is everywhere… but sometimes removing oneself from the chaos of life for a tiny bit helps quiet the mind and allows one to find spaces where we can hear things we need to hear.

As my mind wandered, I found myself looking at the giant spray of spring roses filling a vase on a table. Each flower was so beautiful- and yet when I looked closely, each petal was unique, different- bent here or there, a curl in the edge, a tiny ripple in the textured leaf, a frill here, smooth simplicity there- yet the imperfect petals, when placed in the context of being a flower, became perfect roses. And each rose, a collection of imperfectness, then was part of a greater bouquet which in turn became a breathtaking masterpiece.

It think this is what we all are- Imperfect Petals. We are made perfect by what and how we put ourselves in God’s hands and allow him to do with us what he wants. When we beat ourselves up for having bent our petal, or for our edges not being as smooth as the petal next to us, we are devaluing the beauty and perfection that lies beyond ourselves. I don’t think God cares so much about the marks on us nearly as much as we do- because he sees the whole rose, and knows if the petals were all perfect, the rose would not be so beautiful, not so perfect as a finished masterpiece. It’s the differences and so-called flaws that create the beauty.

Life is going to mark us. We are going to be bruised, torn and scarred by what happens here. But it doesn’t matter- not one bit. The bend of my petals is what makes me useful to God, what makes me unique, and precious. God does not need- nor want- me to be like anyone else, perfect copies of each other; indeed, such an idea is an affront. We only have to trust, and know that we are loved, and hand ourselves, flaws and all, over to God, in order to be made perfect.

See what happens when a mama gets a little time alone?

(cross-posted at Dandelion Mama)


  1. From one bent petal to another, Tracy, this is perfect and beautiful.

  2. *like*

  3. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    Lovely and evocative! Thank you.

  4. Latter-day Guy says:

    Thanks for this.

  5. Great thoughts.

  6. Reminds me for some reason of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s “Lusterware.” Hmmm……wonderful thoughts, and how did you get time alone in the Celestial Room?? Had to have been a God thing. I think you should write a book.

  7. This week I have been compared to Anne Lamott and now evocative of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich… I am swooning with happiness over the unwarranted praise.

    annegb, it’s so good to hear from you! Thanks everyone, for your kind comments.

  8. Researcher says:

    Unwarranted praise? Hardly! It is very much deserved. Your gift for putting spiritual experiences into words is a rare and beautiful thing.

  9. What a fabulous analogy!

    This is going to get used in a talk or two or ten in the future. It a lovely complement to Elder Wirthlin’s orchestra analogy, which is my favorite of all time.

  10. Sharon LDS in Tenn says:

    Your experience wafted the fragrance of what being celestial really is…….
    I consider your writing my favorite reward for web excursions in the daily dearth.
    Please know you ARE a consistent source of smiles and reminders of the best glimpses into the heart of being human in the process of becoming immortal.

  11. Sharon LDS in Tenn says:

    Reread my comment and want to clear up that YOUR writing is NOT part of the ‘dearth’, but a reliable escape from it.
    ;-> !!!!

  12. Another beautifully written piece, Tracy! Have you considered having all of these contemplations printed and bound? I am sure that there are many who would love to curl up on a couch and read them. I know I would!

  13. Lovely. Thanks (especially as I’m about to leave for the temple and can carry this gift with me).

  14. Antonio Parr says:


  15. Stephanie says:

    Wow. I echo Ray: Fabulous analogy.

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