I love tulips, and irises, and hyacinths, and daffodils…and a whole host of beautiful, vibrant other flowers. But until recently, it had never dawned on me that the flowers I love the most are bulb flowers. Flowers that once planted keep showing up year after year– though the keeper of them has done very little to make sure that they come up. Whatever needs to happen is between God and the dirt, and is somehow taken care of.
Just a few weeks ago, as I was preaching on the passage where Jesus talks about being like the flowers of the field, who don’t worry, I saw a single buttercup that had sprouted in my yard. I certainly didn’t put it there, but it showed up, completely without help from me– or for that matter, without me even knowing it was there. That was a delightful surprise, and because I’m trying to teach myself to see God’s blessings everywhere, I decided that God’s hand was in that, reminding me that the buttercup had everything it needed. It’s days are in God’s hands.
Oh, I love these flowers. They’re strong and independent, unlike some of these little flowers that I plant each spring–the ones that whine and require so much care, and then still die at the end of the season (or before, if I’ve gotten busy.) Winter doesn’t kill these, droughts don’t kill them. They don’t fall over in a good wind. These bulb flowers are the ones that thrill my heart.
And until today, I’ve never planted a single one. In Cleveland, there was never a good spot and I had better things to do– like be a typical, boy chasing teenager. In Knoxville, I never had a place to call my own. In Atlanta, my dogs might have eaten them. And here in Fayetteville, the idea of planting something and knowing you wouldn’t see anything from it for a year was unfathomable. Who knew what a year could bring?
I’ve kept these flowers in pots on a porch, and then thrown them away as soon as the flowers fell over, never bothering to dig up the bulbs. But this year, as the flowers have fallen over, I’ve stuck them in the ground, believing that I will be here to see them sprout up in the spring, though I will have long forgotten that they are there.
I’ve always heard the expression, “Bloom Where You are Planted”, but it’s never meant much to me. But after two and a half years here, I finally feel like that’s happening for us. The church is going well, my writing is on the move, and DH has found that which he loves to occupy his time (and bring in the money.) We’ve survived bitter winters of the soul. Strong winds have threatened to blow us over. But here we are: Happy and healthly, loved and in love. It may not be a forever home, but we’ve planted our feet. And finally, we’re beginning to bloom.