by Bob Bekins
November 2019
When most people look at a beautiful, inground Bougainvillea bush, they think it got that way with lots of water. The truth is quite the opposite. A heavily watered Bougainvillea will drop all its red leaves and become a large green bush. If you see a gorgeous splash of red in a Southern California riverbottom you have likely found a Bougainvillea that is growing on a rock.

I love seeing beautiful people.  My wife Cindi is one of those gorgeous brown eyed brunettes, and obviously I was attracted to her. A tall athlete with wavy blonde hair is a fascination. The black woman at the management company with the perfect complexion draws every eye. It is the redhead that stands out in the crowd. In 1967, I watched as an absolutely splendid redhead walked across the Memorial Center Fountain Plaza at the University of Colorado. The whole area came to a halt as everyone fell silent watching her crossing to her next class.

Though it is less of a visual, when a righteous person comes before our inspection we are in awe.  “How can they be that humble, that joyful, when the world seems to be going to hell in a hand bag?” we may ask. Their uniqueness causes them to stick out like a sore thumb.   How I wish those of virtue were common place and the “rebel” and the “self centered” were the exceptions. Just like the Bougainvillea the virtuous are planted on a rock in a river of troubles. When you talk to them it feels like they are shining a light of hope on you. When I think about my relationship with other people, that causes me consider the impact that I have  had on them. Often it is not what I said to them but rather how I made them feel when all of the saying had been finished.

Benjamin Franklin used to spend several hours at the end of each day thinking about those with whom he had interacted and the impact that the interactions had on himself and on others. The mark of an incredible statesman is to consistently analyze how his or her speech, body language, and intentions have drawn others to him or pushed them away.

In our 21st Century, everything is operating at digital speeds.  We don’t slow down long enough to admire the woman at the management office or God’s incredible natural beauty that surrounds us.  The pause to reflect is a lost art.  I pledge to stop and really reflect for a few minutes every evening. That alone has the potential for making me more unique than the red head in the plaza.   Those moments can give each of us an enhanced ability to be the beautiful flower in a drought filled world.

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