Reflections on Irises
Years ago while I was taking a Psychology minor in my undergrad, my wife worked in a large, privately owned franchise (if that’s the right word) of group homes, all over the Bay Area. I would drop into the counselor’s office at times for shop talk. She had a very large lithograph of Irises in a beautiful frame. I was mesmerized by the work, so she eventually gifted it to me.
As I share some reflections now, which I’ve never shared before, I hope to honor that counselor with my openness, and honor those I talk about.
First of all, flowers hold intrinsic value for people, and especially women. Therefore, I’m going to relate certain clusters of flowers to certain women. I hope this does not offend anyone.
Secondly, following basic art principles, I’m going to start with the backdrop and work my way forward. Like my life, there are some parallels in my background.
white & yellow flowers
In the farthest upper right reaches of the flower garden, there are white and yellow flowers.
To me, these represent the women I knew in the innocence of youth, not necessarily platonic friends. Over time I have known other women and there ever remains a sense of innocence, and yet beauty, to the relationship.
There is no formula.
There is no pattern, only the presence of these women in my life.
Yet our complete innocence and purity keeps them far away, like the flowers in the upper right reaches of the painting.
To me, white stands for purity and yellow stands for happiness.
In the upper left, approaching the irises, is a group of orange flowers. I’m not a botanist and cannot identify them. However, I do have some reflections.
Anyone who knows me knows baseball is my favorite sport. I’ve been to so many San Francisco Giants games I can’t count them. The Giants are my favorite team, and their colors are orange and black.
The orange flowers represent the sport of dating and being around young ladies. I will not say much other than I wasn’t perfect, but I maintained Christian standards and Christian accountability. I enjoyed dating.
Each Friday night after the long week, I wanted to have a date.
I did not date exclusively. In other words, if my Friday night date wanted to go out with someone else on the next Friday night, it was okay with me.
I communicated to my dates something like, “We are not going out exclusively. See other people. If we want to, we can commit later.” Communication is key to enjoying the sport, the fun of dating, without hurting peoples’ feelings.
At 15 I attended a Bible Conference. Vows were discussed, prayer vows, and their importance. The view was that if a vow is made, God grants a blessing to help the person who made the vow fulfill the vow. Of course we all believe something like this with wedding vows, but do we apply it to other vows?
I vowed to pray for my future wife 5 minutes a day, a vow I kept religiously. The Lord gave me the tenacity to maintain the vow from the age of 15 onward.
Needless to say, I began to emerge from the sporting era of my dating history. I began to see dating partners as potential mates. This was really in my late teens and early twenties.
I made a couple exclusive commitments, relationships that lasted a little while. I committed to withhold the phrase, “I love you,” fearing it would change the dynamics.
out of the blue
Unfortunately for me, the relationships took on a different hue. The sporty orange was replaced by blue, and sometimes “the blues.”
I would simply know.
In less than 3 months, I would know if I was going to pursue a person any further, or not.
I had a series of relationships as pretty as irises, but marked by blue (even though I know Vincent van Gogh’s Irises were originally purple and have faded with time).
This stage seemed to go on forever blue. At one point, I prayed and believed I had dated enough. I had enjoyed the company of Christian females. I didn’t need it anymore. God could usher in someone who would be different.
About that time, my white iris appeared out of the blue.
Billy Sprague | Out of the Blue
She liked light denim (jeans, shorts, shirts). She came out of the blue, and this song from the era was constantly playing in my head. My “blues” became faded blues like her denims.
She is gorgeously fair skinned like the white iris.
And just like the white iris, she came sailing right out of the blue.
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