Beauty Lessons from the Crape Myrtles

imageLast week when I returned from being away on a trip, I was amazed that the crape myrtle trees here in Florida were suddenly in full bloom.  As I went for my morning walk, I gazed upon the magnificent colors of their flowers: lavender and pink and red and white, each one dazzling in its own way.  I noticed their various shapes and sizes, and how some were more in bloom than others.

Then it dawned on me that they were telling me that we are like the crape myrtles.  We all come in various shapes and sizes and are in different stages of blooming.  No matter what our shape or color, we are created to bring beauty into the world in which we live.

I wasn’t really acquainted with crape myrtles until I moved to Florida.  When we went looking for our first house in the Sunshine State, I remember seeing a beautiful white crape myrtle in the front yard and asking someone what kind of tree it was.  We did buy that house and I loved that crape myrtle.  That fall I was disappointed when it started to lose its leaves and by mid-winter it seemed to grow barren.  I thought the tree was dying.

Then I looked around and saw that all the crape myrtle trees were doing the same.  I asked my neighbors about this phenomenon.  That’s when I learned that Floridians have various ways of dealing with the crape myrtles blooming/life cycle.  Some cut back the branches quite drastically and others just let nature take its course, and most just give it a trim.  How much to prune is a big topic of conversation, but the trees are pretty hardy in this climate and they do quite well no matter how well or how much we cut them back every year.

There are lessons to be learned from caring for crape myrtles.  How much do we need to trim back in our lives in order to be ready to bloom in season?  That is a question I am asking myself these days.  How much do I need to cut back in order to blossom and grow in beauty?  Something to ponder on my morning walks amid the crape myrtles.