Sometimes in life we can find ourselves in a place making decisions we never thought we’d make. When life throws us a curveball, and within the time of dealing with that curveball, we make unhealthy choices. Then long after that curveball has resolved, we continue to be faced with the consequences of those unhealthy choices.
If you’re working through a difficult space, because of past decisions you made while struggling through a painful place, then I hear you. Because I’ve been there too, and in some circles of my life, I’m still navigating my way through that. It sucks! But it is in part, the result of my choices. And there are still days where I have ‘memory flashbacks’ and I wish (on my part) I had done it different: “IF ONLY . . .” and then something like this happens:
On a day when the last flower remaining from a bunch dropped its petals . . . as I went to gather them all up to put in the rubblish . . . I felt to take a photo. Why? I didnt know why? But I’ve learnt from past experience that such a prompt means a story will follow. But I still wondered: “What could possibly come from this remnant stem?” and there begins the story.
In the search to find out what that remnant stem is called: its called a pistil. It’s usually located in the centre of the flower, and made up of three parts: the stigma, the style, and the ovary. The stigma is the sticky tip of the pistil. It is attached to a long tubelike structure called the style. At the other end of the style is the ovary (containing the female egg cells called ovules) in the core of the flower.
But it was the word ‘stigma’ that stood out for me. While I know what ‘stigma’ means, what it is, and how it feels, I looked up the dictionary meaning anyway.
Stigma: A strong lack of respect for a person (or a group of people) or a bad opinion of them because they have done something society does not approve of. OR the one I didnt know: in a flower, the part of the pistil that receives the pollen during pollination.
Both are nouns: one defines disapproval, and the other defines the life of a flower.
So then . . . can I switch my stigma, to turn my unbearable pain into something that brings life? I have to believe it is possible because of Romans 8:28: We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
I find it an interesting parrallel that the stigma of a flower is sticky . . . because that is how it is in life . . . rightly or wrongly, true or false, stigma sticks!
As in the photo, everything else about the flower has fallen away, leaving only the pistil standing exposed. But in my experience, it’s been about how I handle it. Recognising that in the same way there are two sides to every story, there are also two ends to my style. Regardless of my stigma, choosing not to be overwhelmed by the exposure, but instead looking and searching to find my ‘style’ knowing that while on one end is the ‘stigma’, on the other end (at the core of my being) is my soul, my ‘life source’ of hope and potential for my future. Sometimes it’s about that: not being consumed by the ‘stigma’ that many (even ourselves) are stuck on seeing, but pursuing the ‘life’ at the core of our being.
As it is for the flower,
could it be that new life begins (as opportunities)
that have come through the stigma?
the process of pollination that begins in the ‘stigma’,
passes through the ‘style’ to reach the ‘ovary’,
somehow relates to:
my deepest devastation having bought
my greatest transformation.
And so I’ll close with this:
The stigma of disapproval is in the doing.
The stigma of the flower is in its being.
So how do we turn the negative stigma from our doing,
into that which is a positive stigma for our being?
I think of people like David and Solomon
Men of God who made wrong choices.
Led by insecurity and misguided hearts.
Turmoil from their deepest hurting parts.
For David, a man after God’s heart did arise.
But for Solomon he lost favour in God’s eyes.
So dont be overcome by the stigma of your doing.
But pursue the ‘stigma’, ‘style’ and ‘life’ of your being.
Find your ‘style’ to connect your ‘stigma’ with ‘life.’
Use it for good, that it would bring no more strife.