A Petal for Your Thoughts: Doing and Being

With my vase full of flowers, I’m thinking of Anne of Green Gables and her opinions about the feelings of flowers. 

Whether or not flowers actually have personalities and might argue with each other, I think there is a truth we can learn from these spring blossoms. A truth besides not to worry so much, that is. (Matthew 6).

Have you ever recognized that flowers are good at both doing and being? They grow, they produce roots. stems, petals and pollen and they blossom. Some do this year after year. But then they can stand in a garden or vase and just be. They can be cheery and beautiful. We love them for this being. Then it comes back to doing because they are cheer givers, sunshine sharers and beauty bearers. 

For us people, it can be easy to value doing, can’t it? It’s fun to check off a list of accomplishments! Doing is important. God thinks so, too. There are plenty of verses in the Bible about doing. Like this one from Galatians 6:10,

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (ESV) 

But sometimes it is easy to overvalue doing, isn’t it? To value it more than being perhaps? 

Just like there are verses in the Bible about doing, there are also verses about being.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted…” (Ephesians 4:32)

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2, ESV)

When I pray for people I care about, I have prayed that we will be doing the things God wants us to be doing, but maybe I should pray more that we will be being the people He wants us to be. The cool part about this is that no matter what our physical capabilities, by God’s grace, we can be.  And I would venture to say that – like with the flowers – we appreciate other people’s doings, but we love most their beings

Still, like with the flowers, doing and being are intertwined as much as mandevilla on a trellis. For example, being kind and tenderhearted leads us to “forgiving one another,” (Ephesians 4:32, ESV). One leads to the other and back again. Interesting, eh?

Well, while you’re doing something out of being a kind friend like arranging a vase of blossoms to brighten someone’s day, you may want to put some thought as to whether such-and-such bloom really would appreciate being with such-and-such…just in honor of Anne. 

Of Mistakes, Adoptions & “Faith-Brellas”

“No boy! But there must have been a boy,” insisted Marilla. “We sent word to Mrs. Spencer to bring a boy.”

“Well, she didn’t. She brought her. I asked the stationmaster. And I had to bring her home. She couldn’t be left there, no matter where the mistake had come in.”

“Well, this is a pretty piece of business!” ejaculated Marilla. [1]

 From Prince Edward Island at the turn of twentieth the century, let’s move ahead multiple decades in “book time” and listen in on the Hunter family from near Blossom Hill Lane, USA.

[Abby] stood stone still. “Something’s crazy wrong,” she whispered. 

Carly came closer. “What is?” 

“Can’t you see? Miss Lin is with two boys.”

The girls stared.

“Let’s find our sisters,” Abby said.

…The Hunter family huddled in the hallway. 

“There’s been a mistake,” Mr. Hunter explained.

“But I…uh…we don’t want brothers,” Abby said. [2]

Have you ever been the subject of a mistake that threatened your picture of the future? Both of the above scenes come from stories about mixed-up adoptions. In the one case Anne Shirley arrives in Avonlea instead of a boy and in the second Sung Jin and Choon Koo, two Korean brothers, arrive in America instead of two expected girls. Talk about surprises!

While it’s hard to imagine two boys being sent halfway around the world instead of two girls in this day and age, we all know that “mistakes” happen plenty often. Even more frequently, our realities deviate from what we picture in our heads. At least mine do.

It’s no fun being the subject of a change that shakes up the pieces of our life-puzzles. Sometimes it makes us mad like Marilla at the beginning of Anne of Green Gables. Sometimes it brings hard work or dismantles work. In The Double Dabble Surprise  Abby and Carly Hunter are horrified when the room they carefully gave all sorts of girly touches is boy-i-fied by their unexpected brothers. Sometimes surprising situations mean we have to surrender old dreams like Abby and Carly give up the bride bears they were going to give the new girls

Of course, not all mistakes have to be lived with. Sometimes they are opportunities to practice problem solving. Other times they’re just momentary rain showers to give us practice at putting up our umbrellas of faith (or our “faith-brellas” as I like to call them) before the sun comes out and everything’s fine.

But there are those times, like in these two stories, when “mistakes” inspire us to make big changes and take us through a downpour that requires not only a faith-brella, but also a rain jacket and wellies! (“Wellies” is British for galoshes or rain boots, so I’m told. Isn’t English fun?)

We can put up our faith-brella to shield us from drops of doubt, despair and discouragement because we know that God is in control of all things. Sometimes the reason for the “mistakes” may be foggy our whole lives. Other times it comes clear as a rainbow in the sky. After all, God knows the big picture, so He sends us the elements we need. Just listen to Matthew Cuthbert…

“She’s been a real blessing to us, and there never was a luckier mistake than what Mrs. Spencer made – if it was luck. I don’t believe it was any such thing. It was Providence, because the Almighty knew we needed her, I reckon.” [3]

And how does it work out for the Hunters? Well, I suppose you can guess, but if you have a young reader in your home, you might just have to let them find out. Why not make it a great way to celebrate National Adoption Month (November)? Perhaps you’ll even enjoy Beverly Lewis’s entire Cul-De-Sac Kids series together!


[1] L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1995), 36 An Everyman’s Library children’s classic edition.

[2] Beverly Lewis, The Double Dabble Surprise, The Cul-De-Sac Kids, 1 (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1995.), 16-18.

[3] L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1995), 356. An Everyman’s Library children’s classic edition.