Remember that poem called "Desiderada" that everyone had a poster of in the 1970's that began, "Go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence...." ? It then goes on to remind one to speak one's truth gently, listen to everyone (for even the dull and ignorant have a story), age gracefully, don't be cynical, etc.
The line I always remembered was "You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here, and whether or not it is clear to you, the universe is no doubt enfolding as it should."
Things are always unfolding, always moving through a cycle. In the case of the Souvenir de St Anne rose pictured here, I know what the unfolded flower will look like. I can rejoice in its unfolding because I know how it will turn out. No doubt, my rose buds will unfold as they should (barring a sudden late freeze or Japanese beetle attack). And so I can enjoy the buds, enjoy the half-opened blooms, the gloriously full blossom, and even appreciate their fading, because I know both that the spent blooms will drop off the bush by themselves and that there will be other and more blooms to come. In my botanical universe, things unfold reasonably predictably.
The larger universe does not seem to be quite so predictable. And so the unfolding can bring anxiety. Who will this person (baby, child, teenager) unfold to become? What will I be when I grow up? What will next semester look like? What will this marriage be like in ten years? What will happen to my child who has cancer, my friend in intensive care; what will happen in my new job? Is all that stuff going to unfold as it should, and whose idea of "unfolding" and "should" will hold sway?
Is the universe really unfolding as it should when an earthquake kills more than 200,000 people in a desperately poor country? Is the universe really unfolding as it should when a child is molested, when someone is tied up and dragged behind a pickup truck for miles, when people are bought and sold as sexual slaves? Is that child's brain tumor part of "God's plan?"
I don't know what The Plan is. None of us does, although many claim to - and do so out of a desire to be comforting, to say that somehow God will make it all right. God will make it all right, but probably not in the way we would imagine God ought to do so (by smiting bad people, by healing our sick relatives and friends, by giving us back what we lost).
Part of the unfolding is our response to these things. How we will be in a marriage, how we will care for the displaced and the hungry, how we will respond to the injustices, how we will uphold the sick, the infirm, the grieving. Perhaps our response is to be one of the petals, alongside many other petals. I just know that somehow I have to be able to rest in the knowledge that God will make all things new and wipe away every tear, even as I know that there will be plenty of tears to wipe away.