The Cherry Blossom
A friend recently gave me a bracelet with a bead of the Cherry Blossom. Little did she know that this is one of my many favorites in life. I love the arrangement of the five almost white petals and the spray of dark pink emerging from the center. I love that they bloom on the branch of a tree and I love that it is a symbol of something deeper in the Asian cultures.

My interest in these naturally quiet cultures has only increased by having three kids in the Chinese program at our local elementary school. Here is a little more about the meaning of this cute little flower...
China considers the cherry blossom to be a representation of feminine beauty.
The Japanese see it as a representation of the beauty and fragility of life. The season of the cherry blossom corresponds to the calendar and fiscal years in Japan. This marks the start of new beginnings, like a pupil's first day in school or a person's first day at work. The intensity and liveliness of the cherry blossom gives warrant for anyone to dream and hope for big things in the future and to be optimistic, therefore it is seen as a symbol of hope. 
The blooming period of cherry blossoms is very short(two weeks!) leading to an instantaneous flourish and sudden death. In the Japanese culture, this serves as a reminder of mortality and humanity knowing that the life of a human being can end anytime just like the flower. The cherry blossom exemplifies this human condition, making people realize that life is short and that they should live it well, therefore it is a symbol of humility as well.

I have the privilege of working with the young women in my church. This responsibility has been both daunting and rewarding. Recently one of our girls decided that her time on earth was through. She chose to end her mortal journey one dark night after a fight with her sister. With the limited sight of her mere thirteen years, she made a choice that would affect many. My own heart aches for all involved and my conscience was overcome with guilt upon hearing the news. Like many, I felt that I had failed this young girl and had failed her family as well. I had not worked fast enough in my new calling and as a result a tragedy had taken place. Such heavy guilt I carried, I knew I was not the only one feeling the pain and weight of her choice. I turned to Jesus Christ and His atonement for refuge from such a burden. I sought strength to lift her family and the other young ladies in my ward. I felt a portion of that prayer answered as I and the other leaders gathered our girls together the Sunday after. We had a very open lesson with the option to ask anything they wanted about what had happened. There was a very unique spirit throughout our discussion and lesson. It was extremely tender and very powerful. Many tears were shed and hearts were softened allowing each of us to love a little more openly. Acts of service were put into place and healing began as the girls reached out to serve the family of the young girl. 
Like the Cherry Blossom signifies, life is indeed short, and at times even shorter. Most likely the world will not take note when one bloom falls, but to the one who's heart they did tread upon, a lasting imprint of love will be left behind to hold until the time of meeting once again. 
We each will one day go home to that great God that gives us breath. We will stand before our Lord and Savior and take into account all that we have done with our time on earth. The beauty of that moment will be the fact that Jesus Christ already has a perfect knowledge of our hearts, intentions, limitations and struggles. He sees us as we truly are, here and now in the living, and it is stronger, more intelligent, more beautiful, and of greater worth than we see in ourselves. He is the perfect mediator between us and the Father. 
I have felt Christ's healing love. It is possible to be encircled about in His arms while we are yet in the flesh. When life feels too heavy, turn to Him and He will carry your burden. (Alma 33:23) 
There is always hope when we have love and faith in Him...



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