Flowerlungs

It’s one of those heavy days, and I find myself lost in thought as the IV pump alarm fills the stagnant silence in the room. The only other audible sound is coming from within my lungs serving as a constant reminder of the setting of my reality. The air is unmoving and the shadows crawling from the corners are drawing closer to me under the fluorescent light as the evening passes. The shadows are eager to steal my warmth—they try endlessly, using the slow passage of time in the hospital room to their advantage.

I hear a gentle knock reverberating from the far side of the thick door as my mom pops her head in just slightly to say hi. The door glides open and in one hand she brings a lovely bouquet of life-giving flowers; in the other hand, a bag containing food from outside the hospital walls that I desperately desire. She quickly lays down her belongings and walks towards me, still wearing her own set of scrubs invisibly soiled from her own set of patients, to kiss me on the forehead as she asks, “How is my girl?”

As quickly as it appeared, the darkness evaporates into the light and the thick silence is traded for merry chatter. The flowers stand on the counter and gleefully whisper affirmations of joy, support, and splendor into my soul and all feels right again.


Spring is upon us and I am feverishly anticipating the growth of new life and my favorite by product of the elements: flowers.

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Flowers have always meant something deeper to me than just futile flora sprinkled over the landscape of our earth. Whether my connection to flowers is an inherited trait passed down from my mom, the same way cystic fibrosis passed from her genetic makeup to mine, or just a hobby that fulfills my soul’s desire of contentment, I know that they hold significance far beyond aesthetic appeal. They continually remind me of the incandescent beauty gifted from our Lord, the oxygen dancing within the breeze, and the immense control it takes to be present and grounded despite the tireless winds. They call my hand to pick, my nose to smell, and my eyes to savor retelling of the enduring capability of a broken body.

Moreover, I have always been under the assumption that flowers are the most powerful creation in nature. They have the capacity to spark restoration within our darkest moments, while simultaneously signifying every triumph or celebration in our lives. How is it they have the weight of such influence to do both? How do they illustrate both realms of sorrow and happiness? I am unsure. But, their passive strength is something I admire and something I aim to embody within my own existence.

Within my lungs due to cystic fibrosis, thick paths of scar tissue marble through chronic infection and reactive inflammation making it more difficult to breathe as time passes. There is a strong force feeding from the resources within my body, and it takes what it wants and leaves it’s mark in the form of perpetual damage. The reality is that my organs are struggling at the hands of a very powerful disease. I recognize my reality. I know this is what’s occurring within my shell, but it’s not how I choose to see my life.

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What if I chose to believe I am harboring prosperity and beauty by growing flowers within my organs- the very creation I admire so much? As time passes, I cultivate more blooms and they fill the spaces within my lungs and unexpectedly take my breath away- a trade off for their immense beauty. I pluck the thistles and allow further growth, and they fill me with unmatched hopefulness and appreciation. They serve as a mark of both my physical pain and spiritual triumph causing each inhalation paired with exhalation to be a reminder of a blessing. CF is my blessing in many ways and will remain as such.

I’d rather my breath be stolen by prolific blooms, an overgrowth of loveliness and grace, than relish in the reality of my disease. I have learned that true perspective has the power to change the course of your life, the power to smother anxiety and fear, and the power to transform destruction into celebration. I know my fight has really only just begun- I’ll be physically and mentally flooded far beyond what I can imagine in the years to come.

But, I am not afraid because I grow flowers causing my life to be more lovely and fulfilling than ever expected.

In those moments when I fail to produce them myself- when I lack the necessary elements vital to blossom- I know alternatively the people who love me with aid in supplying them. There will be a gentle knock reverberating on the far side of my door and I’ll overhear the words repeatedly said by my mama:

I will always bring you flowers because flowers heal all.

Indeed, they do and all is right again.

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15 thoughts on “Flowerlungs

  1. Kodi pride says:

    What a beautiful blog as always! Flowers signify beauty, growth and life and therefore a perfect representation of you! It’s in the darkest moment that I think God has time to work in His miraculous yet mysterious ways. Your mom is amazing and you are her awesome offspring so you are nothing short of extraordinary! I rejoice that the breathe of God is ever present upon you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janeil says:

      I have learned so much from my mom and they way she has carried on during our family’s hardest moments. So very thankful for her! I hope you are doing well. You are in my thoughts all the time. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  2. Kathy Lingo says:

    Although you do not know me I know your Mom and your Dad. Your Blog is amazing and I love reading it. Your Dad would have been so proud of his little girl…you are a true inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Denise Zitiello says:

    Hi Janiel you were a baby when I first met you as were were neighbors of your parents on Coventry Drive. I love reading your blogs and pray for you every night. You are such a positive person and a lot of people could learn about what life is really all about instead of all the material things. Your mother is an angel and I miss her a lot. Take care of yourself sweet angel. Denise Zitiello

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janeil says:

      Hi Denise! Thank you for the continued prayers- that means the absolute world to me! I am so very thankful for that exact perspective in my life. My mama really is an angel 🙂 I will tell her you commented and again, thanks for reading and thinking of me. Take care and Happy Sunday!

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  4. Seema says:

    This is a truly beautiful post. I recently finished my rotation on the pulmonary unit at the children’s hospital and saw numerous children and adults with CF, and I just wanted to thank you for your writing- it has provided me with perspective I would have never otherwise received.

    Liked by 1 person

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