Yesterday I saw the first bulb blooming in the front garden – an Early Snow Glory. It appears delicate, but it has fought through the cold and snow of the winter to get here. What a beautiful sight after the weeks of snow and cold of February and early March. Yes, spring is coming and with it the promise of possibilities.
These small blue flowers are also another reminder of my mother who planted the bulbs years ago and always looked forward to their appearing each year. A bittersweet remembrance of the seeds of love and faith that both my parents planted in their children and with everyone they met.
However, my parents aren’t the only ones who planted seeds in my life. Many people in the past and present, those I’ve known, but many I haven’t, who have planted seeds that continue to sprout. There’s a beautiful garden to view and tend if only I have eyes to do so.
But it’s not only about looking at the garden that has already been planted. Where am I sowing seed? On a literal level, I have a packet of Canterbury Bell seeds sitting in my in-box. When I think of having to plant them in small containers so they can sprout before they go into the ground I wonder if it’s worth the effort and laziness takes over. Then, what if the flowers become trampled or waterlogged? What if they don’t grow? So I’m afraid of putting anything in the ground. However, storing them is also a problem. Last year I threw away a box of flower bulbs that had started to mold and disintegrate when I did not plant them soon enough. So much potential, gone.
It takes faith to plant bulbs: faith that this effort will result in a flower months from now, faith that the earth and the rain will provide the conditions for growth. It’s similar with other seeds that we plant. When I personally think of sharing ideas, compliments, concern, even an invitation to dinner, I’m not sure what will happen. How will the other person react? However, if I never step out these potential interactions, seeds if you will, can decay. So I’m convinced that we need to let go and share our love for friends and family, ideas for changing our corner of the world, our skills for helping others. Though it may be a challenge for some of us, it is worth it to find the soil that will nourish these seeds and see what grows.
As I watch each bulb blossom this summer, I will continue to be reminded of my mother and all that she planted. But I will also be reminded to plant my own seeds. Some will be actual flower bulbs, but others will be through relationships, ministry, and writing.
After a winter of being inside, it is time to step out. What’s the worst that can happen when we plant these seeds in the world? I predict that a garden of riotous color will emerge. Let’s get planting.