Growing Things, Hearing God



I  sat and looked at my flowers. Just sat. And looked. Didn’t write. Didn’t think. Tried to decompress from work and its many challenges. Just looked at my flowers. Took deep breaths. And remembered where I got them…

The rose. It was a “knock-out” rose that had been tossed in a trash can. It was half-dead, wilted and the stems were broken. I fished it out, took it home and planted it. Babied it. Fertilized, trimmed, and watered it. The first year it lived and produced one wimpy little bloom, as if to say, “I’m gonna LIVE!”

It’s never been a very robust rose. It doesn’t have an amazing aroma. The blooms are not big and beautiful. But it thrives. And this year, in the year-of-the-COVID, this rose is blooming its heart out. And since I am working from home (with minimal trips to the real world), it is beautiful.

And I mumbled to myself, “talk about exceeding expectations!”

Oh. Wait.

The irises. I dug them up on the family homestead in southeastern Ohio. To the best recollection of my family, they were probably planted by my great-grandmother. I brought them home in a box of other bulbs, lily of the valley and daffodils. And I have thinned them and replanted them several times. Now my yard has clusters of these irises in five or six places. They are spreading by doing what bulbs do… divide, push out, and push up. They are designed to not be content with last year’s real estate. Every year, a little more beauty around my yard.

And I was (and am) grateful for my great-grandmother’s foresight.

This year in COVID-time, I have all the more reason to watch and wait and enjoy the slow arrival of spring and summer flowers. Today, my window is open, and I can smell the sweet, gentle fragrance of the wisteria in full bloom on our arbor. It wafts in, gives me pause… The Spirit is speaking… am I listening?

Life is sweet. Hard. Hopeful. Challenging. All at once. Thanks be to God.


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