“Dahlias are everything a flower should be,” she said happily as she wrapped the bouquet I had made into butcher paper. “They’re a stunning unfolding of tight complexity!”

Curious words from a glamorous sales associate.

But I have come back to her shop for dahlias over and over again this fall. They’ve become one of my favorite flowers for the large jar that sits on our dining room table at home. I like what their “unfolding complexity” invites me to ponder each morning over a mug of coffee.

Unfolding…that’s like the theme word of my life. It honors the wide, open spaces of invitation within me, where I’ve learned to surrender and learned to receive. And it blesses the tight spaces of question, where I am not yet everything I will one day be. Both spaces are true, and neither is wrong.

Still I sometimes have a hard time with the process of unfolding. I’m an “are we there yet?!” kind of girl. Plenty of people would tell you I can be a difficult road tripper. But with dahlias, and with life, every day is about becoming fuller. It’s the process that keeps you captivated.

I’m not who I was a year ago. I’m both more wild and more settled, more playful and more wise, more spontaneous and more sure. And it all belongs.

Last month, one of the men who has known me best asked if he could have the chance to know me better. I felt overwhelmed in the invitation to enter deeper relationship with someone who has seen so much of me—who has entered the mess of my unfolding so well.  Aaron’s heart is kind and steady, and I love being enjoyed by him.

There is much unfolding for me these days. I’m grateful, and I keep buying dahlias. Because I like the reminder that life is stunning as it unfolds and God is present in the process.


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Katy Johnson lives, dreams, writes, and edits in a messy, watercolored world.  She’s a 25 year old, discovering her hope, her longings, and the wild spaces in her own heart.  Her favorite creative project right now is called The Someday Writings, and someday, she may let those writings see the light of day.  For now, she shares her thoughts here.

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