A couple days ago I was visiting one of my favorite stops in Memphis, Le Fleur. It conjures up images of an apothecary’s cottage. Wood and stone mark out the boundaries of structured clutter in this quaint flower shop, each item bearing the marks of age. A fresh scent permeates the air. It is a gift of the many plants and cut flowers. Not to mention the various aromas wafting from candles waiting to be sold. For me, it is a place of peace and relaxation where things quietly rest.
It is a place full of life, but that life is far more than the vibrant hues of flowers and plants. Life is also evident in the slow wear born by each and every shelf, whether it be the canoe turned on its end, or what looks to be a reclaimed hutch only half adorned in moulding. These pieces testify to life_ to life lived!
In a world where we so quickly replace things that begin showing the signs of age, I speak from the heart of a romantic. There is a deep reservoir of life to be found in old things well loved and well cared for. Items made not for immediate use and disposal, a tragedy of our day, but items shaped by affection and intent. Objects that grow with us bearing the many marks of our lives, the evidence of its and our experiences. These things earn the right to their own stories, to their own rest as they too grow old and venerable. There is much of life to be found in the wear of time. I hope we would take the time to sit in the presence of age, taking the time to watch, listen, rest and maybe even learn.
It is here that I might challenge my generation further. We are caught up in a culture of disposal. We buy cheap and sell quickly. I believe we have lost the joy found in poverty, the joy of time etching our histories in wood and stone. Wood and stone that in the past, would have been the work of our own hands. I challenge us to once again make our history and not merely marvel, as I do at Le Fleur, at the quiet store of life in every worn edge, every crack, every scar that testifies to life and love. I hope we will care enough to hold on, to mend, and to fill our lives with things that in the end are as well lived as we ourselves are.