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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Planting Bulbs for Springtime

A few weeks ago my Mom asked me to plant some daffodil bulbs in their front yard, so that when they get home from their mission in a few months that they'll be able to enjoy some yellow beautifulness. So, I picked up some bulbs, which have been sitting in a bag waiting for me to find my gardening gloves and my handy little kneeling pad. Last night I was looking over the instructions, hoping that I haven't missed the prime planting time yet. I was happy to find that for where we live the ideal planting time is October to December, with the specific instructions:

Plant in the fall, before the first frost hardens the soil.

It made me think of something I read recently (I don't remember where, though)... something about planting a tiny seed of hope in our hearts, even if it's hidden under the many wintry layers of grief and sorrow. When I read it, I imagined my heart covered in winter snow and there underneath it all - a seed, waiting for the winter to pass and the sun's warmth so that it can blossom. It makes my heart warm to think of something with beautiful potential lying dormant under the winter soil, sure to bring joy and beauty after a cold and dreary winter.

In the past (and very recent past, I might add) I've had a really hard time with the principle of hope. It feels so risky to put my emotions and expectations on the line {again}, not having a perfect knowledge of whether or not what I hope for will actually come true. If I give myself permission to hope for something I desire with all my heart, then I worry that I'm setting myself up for further failure, greater disappointment and another hard fall. It can be so scary to hope.

But, then I'm reminded of this quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt: Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

I find it rather interesting, though, that putting my hope in the potential of these daffodil bulbs to grow doesn't trigger any risky feelings at all. If I didn't know better, I might be very skeptical about how these bulbs could survive the frozen winter ground and still emerge in the spring as beautiful flowers. I might think it's a waste of money, time, and energy, and not even bother planting them.

But, I've planted enough bulbs and seen enough bulbs blossom that I know that good things come from the time I spend planting these bulbs. And, besides, even if there are some that don't bloom, there are enough bulbs being planted that it won't make a difference. The key is that in order to enjoy the flowers, the bulbs have to be planted. I know it's obvious... but, they will not grow if they have not been planted.

So, while I am digging and placing these daffodil bulbs, I find myself wandering through the garden of my heart. Gratefully the soil is still good, and if I use my agency to choose to plant good things there, then good things will surely come. Otherwise, I can decide it's too scary and risky to plant seeds of hope, allowing my heart to be over-run with despair and discouragement. It's really my choice what gets planted.

Rather than let despair and fear keep me from planting bulbs of hope in my heart, I'm just going to plant enough that beauty is sure to abound. Having the courage and faith to dare to hope, puts me in a position to allow God to continue to fill my life with His blessings. I've dared to hope for the impossible before and was blessed in greater abundance than what I had hoped for. Who am I to place limits on God and His power to bless my life, even with miracles if necessary?

So, I'll do the planting now, brace myself for whatever winter brings, and patiently wait for my Springtime. I don't know when it will come, how much longer the wait will be, but it will come. I do know that. And, plus, if we're commanded to have hope, then I know God will prepare the way before me, and have mercy on me because I'm choosing to hope {still}... not only for the blessings that await in the next life, but for blessings He has in store for me now. 

I know there is so much still to hope for. 


My Favorite Things said...

Beautiful commentary on hope. From your last entry on hope, I've been thinking and it seems that hope is so abstract, something that is so hard to understand, but here you make it concrete and understandable. It's great. You've just writen a talk.

I'm so hooked on your blog and the others on your list with mothers who have lost babies and are mourning. Have you read the R blog lately? Go there soon!

Kamie said...

Thank you Megan! Wonderful thoughts that spoke to my heart. Our Heavenly Father does have blessings in store for us. And they will come. Thank you for reminding me.

Love you!

Andrea said...

Just beautiful Megan! You are an incredible writer. Thanks for sharing your wonderful insight with me. I too hope that the seed of depair and grief will eventually blossom into something of joy and happiness. I hope for your dreams and wishes to come to you. You deserve some happiness to come to you.
Thanks as always Megan for your beautiful words.

Mindy said...

I find myself in your shoes (well, not literally, yours probably wouldn't fit. I wear a size nine) ... I never would've imagined in my long-legged life that HOPING would be one of the most difficult things to do. I'm not sure if I am even at the point to wear I am ready to hope to hope. But maybe I will start taking some baby steps in that direction. :)

Jaime said...

That was a beautiful description of hope. I stumbled across your blog and read about the loss of your twin girls. I am so sorry for your loss. My husband and I lost our baby girl at 19 1/2 weeks, so I know your pain. It was hard to hope for another baby. But God was faithful to us. I believe that God will bless you with more children on this earth whether it be of your own or through adoption.
(I apologize if this is a double post--it didn't seem to go through the first time).

Kim said...

Megan, I really think you need to write a book. This Feeling VERY similar things is so scary to hope...but without it we are lost. Love the analogy...thank you.