Happiness Unfurled

Have you ever wondered what helps a Peace Lily bloom?

I’ve been pondering this for the last four years. Several months ago, my forever friend, Terrie, gave me some clues. I’ve had this Lily as a token of the love I had for my brother James, born on 5/19/58 and passed away 6/3/2016. 

This Lily came home with me after we laid his body to rest. I made a promise to myself that this plant was going to live! No house plant has ever been important enough to me to devote the energy needed to keep it alive.

I’m thankful for it’s forgiving nature. So many times I found its beautiful leaves drooping to the floor. But by day’s end, it perked back up, with a gentle, “Thank you!“ But year after year, it never bloomed. 

That day when Terrie and I were chatting, she mentioned how happy she was that her Peace Lily was blooming. Immediately my ears perked up!  “What!?! How do you get your Peace Lily to bloom? I’ve had mine for 4 years and it’s never bloomed.”

“Well, Florene, it has to be happy to bloom!”  That didn’t make any sense to me. As she explained it though, I decided since she was the one with blooming plants and I was not, it was going to be my mission to put her ideas to the test.  She said it needs 3 things; Light, Regular Watering & you need to talk to it.

Poised for play that didn’t happen!

On March 19, 2020 our world changed, when the Covid 19 Shut Down happened. My tennis work came to a screeching halt!  Our traveling ministers, Suzanne & Mary, hung their hats in our home for the next couple months. As we all settled into our new “normal,“ my Peace Lily came more into focus. Every day I opened the blinds. When it drooped, I watered. I sent it happy thoughts. Then two weeks ago,  “Look, a bloom!” 

During these days of “social distancing“ I have learned many lessons from nature, from conversations, from the death of my dear Daddy, etc.  But my best lessons have come from Above!  The extra time spent reading His word, in meditation and prayer has helped me answer this question: From whence cometh true happiness?

1. Taking time to look to God’s son, Jesus, who is light for my soul.

2. Spending time reading His word, which is water for my soul.

3.  Talking to Him, listening for direction, which brings rest for my soul.  When my soul is at rest, then comes true joy and happiness!

Today, on James’s birthday, the one Lily bloom is completely unfurled, waving gently in the breeze. 

As I wait and wonder where this tennis journey is going to take me next, I’m sitting here with complete confidence today, that in due time, my Heavenly Father will let me know! By Coach Flo Miller 5/19/2020

The Ugly House

A few weeks ago while jogging on a familiar street in our neighborhood, my head turned suddenly to catch sight of an ugly Double-wide mobile home, plopped caddy-corner on the lot. There was no siding on the house, and a flapping blue tarp was on the roof. Where, just days before there was a wooded lot, the trees were now pushed up into a heap behind the house. Since we had been getting rain here in North Carolina for months, the front yard was a big red muddy mess. “What an eyesore for the neighborhood”, went through my mind as I kept on running.

We’re all a Work in Progress! On or off the tennis courts.

Several days later I noticed the blue tarp was gone and a freshly shingled roof was in place. It was then I realized that somewhere, someone was looking at this lot and home very differently than I was the first time I traipsed by. No doubt they envision a plush green lawn, with flowers set in place; maybe some cedar shake siding and a sprawling wrap around porch. Another thought occurred to me later — perhaps inside this currently unattractive structure, is set up an immaculate home decorated with the latest and the greatest!

As tennis coaches we sometimes have players show up for lessons or join our school teams and we find ourselves viewing them as “an ugly house”. Perhaps they have very little athletic ability and struggle just to make contact with the ball. So often their focus is definitely not on the tennis court.

What does it take to flip the switch in our own mind’s eye to envision this player at a match, serving, placing balls where they want them to go and totally enjoying the sport? At what point do we disconnect our focus from perfecting their strokes, to helping them get the glimpse of what “the beautiful home” is going to look like and feel like?

“Mon, I’m ready for tennis!” Kate, Age 2

Our tennis players may show up to practice or lessons, and compare themselves to better players on the team or in the clinic, viewing themselves as the “ugly house”. I’ll never forget a doubles match I was playing in with some ladies that were much more experienced than I was myself. I came onto the court with this apprehension all bundled up inside me, comparing my shots to their’s, worrying about what they were going to think or say about my level of play. After we lost the first game, due to my errors, I just asked myself the question, “Why am I comparing myself to them? They get up and put their panties on just like I do. Just hit your shots, Flo.” No more games were lost in the match, due to my errors, and we won!

All it takes is a snap-shot view, with a little imagination. Each time I run by the Ugly House now, I can see this home, no longer on wheels, but with a solid brick foundation, an award winning yard and kids romping in the grass. Coaches, let’s take time to get a glimpse and share the vision!