For the Love of Zuzu's Petals: Finding Healing in Others
Updated: Jan 5
For about seven years, the Divine suspended reality when God did what God does so well. She chose a weirdo, faith-lacking, shallow, self-involved doubter to take on a quest. This time, that weirdo was me, and Her quest was the leadership of a group of generous, open-minded, deeply connected women (of several faiths and practices) in a spirituality group at my church.
I was busy raising young children and caring for my grandmother, worrying about how I would survive without her one day and concerned I wasn't doing enough for my family. So when God tapped a wonderful friend of mine and me on our shoulders to answer the need for women to gather in our community, we somehow didn't hesitate. When I think about it now, I must have been temporarily insane not to doubt myself right out of that one, but I guess God works miracles. When my co-leader heeded an artistic calling, I went it alone. The group met on Tuesday mornings and evenings, boldly challenging ourselves to grow.
I named the group Zuzu's Petals, borrowed from "It's a Wonderful Life." It symbolized that feeling many of us in the group held. That we are all George Bailey, carrying resentment and pain, grief over lost opportunities, too much duty, and too many mistakes, challenges we all hoped to one day see as blessings.
We were all ages and from many walks. We had a sick family member, or felt stuck in a dead-end job, or our husband left us, or we were coming out of the closet, or our child was just diagnosed with something terrifying, or we had lost faith, or we never had it. We opened up to each other, and in doing so, we found hope. Those "Zuzu's petals" in our pockets may involve grieving but also culminate in rejoicing that we are who we are, born when and where we were, with every experience built into us, refining us, making us better. For ourselves. For others.
Sometimes we gathered around a published study. Sometimes I fell in love with a book then created a study. Other times we took a Bible study and deconstructed it completely. We did video series and sought inspiration from the secular world. We did a world religion study and invited women of diverse faiths to share. Many of them folded in and continued with the group.
I have saved everything we ever tackled at Zuzu's Petals, and I hope to share the best of them in the coming months. I'll also share how the Zuzu's Petals themselves changed my life. Thank you for reading and sharing. And a giant shout out to all of the Zuzu's Petals out there in the world. I love and miss you and thank God for you every day!