When I painted this watercolor, I had one person in mind the whole time. It was my daughter Marie, thus “Marie’s Bouquet”. She and her husband have often brought me orchids on special days or just to say “I love you?”.
What flower do you think best defines love? Yes, we often think of roses (and I DO love roses), but let me propose that orchids may be an even better representation of love. When you think of love, what are you hoping for? For me, four things leap to mind:
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First, I think of love as being something that is faithful, withstanding difficulties. Did you know that orchids have an incredible root system that can hold them onto the trunk of a tree? We have them growing on a coconut tree, and the roots wrap all the way around the tree, holding on through every stormy wind thrown at us!
Second, I think of love as forgiving. I know I’m not a perfect person. Those who love me have to forgive me over and over and not give up on me as I try to grow and change. A few years ago at a neighborhood nursery, I purchased an orchid. When I got home and examined it carefully, I realized it was in poor shape and that’s why it was on sale. I doubted it would survive. I pulled it out of the pot, and stuck in the crook of a tree - expecting it to die. But do you know, 2 years later, that orchid has put out two stalks of the most beautiful large flowers I’ve ever seen? It didn’t give up!
Third, I think of love as being something special… unique… exclusive between me and the one that loves me. Orchids come in an amazingly unique variety of shapes, colors, and sizes! The first time I went to the orchid show here in Hilo I was amazed. They come in a variety of colors and patterns. Some are large, some are teeny tiny and some look like happy faces with eyes and mouth smiling with love at you! Some have a soft tropical fragrance and some smell like chocolate. I even have an orchid in my yard that grows vanilla beans!
Fourth, when I think of love, I think of it being plentiful. I need a lots and LOTS of it! At the Hilo Farmer’s market, one of the first things that always catches my eyes, are the buckets and buckets full of orchids for sale. In fact, that’s what this painting is based on! Pictures I’ve taken of these orchids!!!
These characteristics can be hard to find - especially if we look for them ALL in one person. I have been blessed to experience them at times through people. But the love I know I can always rely on is God’s love. He is always faithfully there, putting up with my struggles and forgiving me my failures. And his love is personal and plentiful.
The beautiful thing is, God loves me in these ways, but he’s also asked me to show that kind of love to others. Of course, I’m not perfect at it like he is, but it does remind me of the orchid, that is woven into a lei and passed on in aloha (love) to another person.
I hope this watercolor now speaks of love to you! Is there someone you know who needs to feel loved today?
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