At the beginning of a new year, I am not so much making resolutions as I am considering how I spent myself and a year’s worth of time in the year just past. That leads to choices about spending time and personal resource in the present. What do I need to keep or change in order for me to honor God, delight in His presence, and show my love to others in ever growing ways?
As I mulled these thoughts while packing away Christmas lights and garland, clearing table tops and starting the cleaning tasks which accompany taking down decorations, I saw the disappointing results of a gardening project I began around Thanksgiving. Every year, I enjoy placing Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs into containers with stones and water. They put down roots, send up green shoots, and always delight us with fragrant white blooms before Christmas. Most of the bulbs offered beginning shoots of green. Some grew a few inches. But none of them bloomed by Christmas, and in general failed to thrive. Now, only one bulb appears to have the small swelling at the base of its leaves that tells me a flower may eventually unfurl. I decided to remove the bulbs. That is when I discovered that they never grew any roots. Only the ones with more than an inch or two of leaf had grown the plump white roots which could reach down into the water for necessary nutrients. Beginning was all they did; then lacking roots and healthy growth they began to decay.
That was an epiphany moment for me. No matter how full I am of possibility and fresh starts, I can never grow if I am not rooted and absorbing the nourishment necessary to flourish. “Feeding myself” is never on a daily to do list. But I realize I have little to offer others if I don’t choose healthy foods and activity for my body as well as take the time to begin my days with quiet time which feeds and grows my soul. I love listening to a John Michael Talbot album called “Come to the Quiet” each morning. As I listen and worship, I am fed. My roots spread and deepen. I stretch and grow. I can bloom!
The bulbs need some soil and moisture in order to thrive. I remember bringing tulip bulbs to the Philippines after a 2-week vacation here in Holland. I thought that I could also grow them there as well. I even put the bulbs in the fridge to simulate the winter sleep that they get here. No success. That was a realization for me that some things are just not meant to be. We are given special blessings and talents that are unique to us and that is what we should nurture. Why should I be wishing for tulips in the tropics when there are beautiful tropical flowers out there anyway that grow without all the unnecessary efforts.
Beautiful reminder to remember how to start the day. Thank you for a lovely message which could have been easily missed in the disappointment of not having the expected and hoped for narcissus blossoms.
I am often reminded of Mary Oliver’s words “Pay attention, Be astonished, Tell about it.” Thank you for listening to my telling, Sonja! I wonder how often our expectations are unrealized because of our own failure to follow through.
The first thing I did when I finished this was to add “nourish my roots” on my TO DO list. Thanks for the reminder.
Ah, Katherine…we may have similar lists. Thank you for the prompt, and thank you for reading. Mary Ann
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