I have two vases of flowers in my apartment right now.
One bouquet is large, beautiful, nicely arranged, expensive, and full.
All that remains of the other bouquet is a cluster of daisies and some purple colored filler.
When I walk by I am indifferent to the large arrangement. But the almost bare, ribbon-tied vase with a few daisies makes me smile each time I pass it. You see, the flowers mean something to me based on how and why they were given.
Before they started to wither, the smaller bouquet with the white daisies also contained a red rose, a couple fucsia lilies, and some yellow daisies. Each flower was individually selected and tied with a pretty ribbon that contains the various colors in the flowers themselves. They were hand-delivered to me on my doorstep by my boyfriend who was waiting there to surprise me when I came home. One of those sweet "just because" greeting cards accompanied the pretty petals. They were given just to make me happy. They did make me very happy. It still makes me happy to look at them.
The other bouquet, the grandiose one, was presented to me with a signed letter from the Session, thanking me for my service to the church and wishing me well with whatever call God has next for me now that I'm leaving this congregation. They were given to me, along with a cake that said "Good Luck Ruth" on the night that I announced to the students that I was no longer going to be their Youth Director. The flowers are a nicety, an obligatory kind of thing that I'm sure someone suggested at the Session meeting because, well, we should do something to mark her leaving, right? Flowers and a signed letter? That'll do. I do appreciate the gesture and the sunflowers do bring a certain brightness to the apartment. But because they are "we should get her flowers" flowers, they don't mean as much as the simple surprise boquet I received.
It's not about the flowers themselves. It's about the message that is expressed in the giving of the flowers.