Updated: Mar 24, 2021
This past Autumn, I had planted a plethora of bulbs; tulips, daffodils, and a few others that I have since forgotten their identity. I had not planted tulips since my dad taught me how to as a child. His eyes would smile, not only when he shared the beauty of God's creation, but especially then. His hands covered in dirt and passing onto me, the wonder and awe of life. There was something sacred to me about a bulb, apart from the foresight they require in being beneath the earth before winter. My dad loved all things nature and beauty and avidly planted and grew flowers, plants, and hatched peacocks, and swans. But the tulip bulb was different, this could not be planted on a whim, it must be thought of, and cared for in advance.
I have admired the tulip, from afar for decades, afraid to commit to my roots and accept fully the devastation and tragic beauty of which they were breed and fed. I don't know what compelled me to plant them this past fall, but a reach for something cathartic to soothe parts of me that I did not know still ached. As the tulip greens reached the surface, so also did new information surrounding my dad's passing in 2003 reach the surface. Isn't it magnificent how we have nothing to do but to be faithful and rest assured that God will reveal things in his perfect timing! I am learning, impatient as I tend to be, to rest in this consistent truth.
In an attempt to be artistic, I planted several other bulbs, two of which I cannot recall what they are nor what they should look like when their leaves first crest the earth. In a fury of weeding several weeks ago, I pulled everything that looked suspect, certain that I was mothering well the sweet baby flowers that I have long awaited. Spring reveals the mistakes we have made in the brilliance of its sweet sun compelling what is true to come to the surface. And what is true, is that in my haste I plucked nearly all my sweet new flowers that were meant to compliment my tulips. A few escaped my thoughtless fingers, only to give evidence of my mistake.
It struck me, how I failed to know my flowers and their identity, and in my failure, I brought destruction. Isn't this like our own identity? When we fail to know who we, or our loved ones truly are, we invite confusion and likely destruction into our lives. But God, knowing his children as intimately as he crafted each one of us, never mistakes who we are. He sees the shape of us, the inner workings, our needs and desires, our pains and personal triumphs. Our Heavenly Father never mistakes us for a weed, he knows who we are before we've shot through the surface and made our glorious entrance into the world.
There is wisdom to be gained when we plunge our hands into the earth and are willing to get dirty in the pursuit of understanding and growth. In a white washed, air brushed, disinfected world, I worry we are losing the resiliency that comes from earned blisters and dirt under the nails. And yet I have hope, that even when we are reckless and thoughtless, God is greater than our greatest blunder and he provides a way back, if we only slow down and listen.