There’s just something about the first. The first fuzzy bud on a branch. The first green leaf uncoiling. The first shoot bravely sprouting out of the ground. The first sweet, swelling stem, followed miraculously by a first bloom.
Spring is full of firsts. Miracles that seem to arise out of nowhere.
I had been taking note of my newly-visible crocus sprouts pushing their way out of the cool dirt. I hadn’t been watching closely enough, it turns out, because without warning, the thin, grass-like stalks suddenly burst into beautiful purple bloom. I hadn’t even noticed a bud. No hint, no announcement, no memo. They had completely succeeded in their failure to alert me to their impending fragile beauty.
Isn’t this sometimes the best surprise? The ones you don’t even see coming, the ones that blindside you with their perfect simplicity? There was no anticipation. No time to even consider how beautifully they may bloom, or what shade of purple they may be. They simply turned their grass-like stalks toward the sunshine and opened their hidden petals, reveling in only their own unfurling, unconcerned with the pressures or deadlines of anxiously awaiting gardeners.
When it’s your time, will you bloom happily in your garden? Or will you give in to the worldly expectations surrounding you, blooming too early, being bitten by the cold frost? Or will you wait just a little too long to follow your dreams, your blooms attacked and wilted quickly by the hot sun?
For fifty one weeks out of the year, they prepare. Absorbing life from the soil around them, and dreaming of one day opening their petalled windows upward, allowing the sky’s brilliant blue to flood their delicate petals. They dream. They hope. They have silent faith in that perfect spring day so far off, where they will have no choice but to bloom in celebration of the promise that is life.
We, too, have a promise in this life. We are given seeds, soil and sunlight. We are also given responsibility. The responsibility to love others and to have faith in something invisible and larger than ourselves. Like my crocus bulbs, we must grow and swell with love, hoping blindly that the day will come, when we will be hand-picked, lifted out of the cool soil to bloom in the glorious light that ends this life, and begins an unexpected brilliant new life in an eternal garden.
So take this time to prepare, to grow, to absorb and to hope. After what may seem like an insurmountable lifetime of pain, hurt, frustrations and unanswered prayers, one day we just might awaken above these worldly afflictions, to find that we are abloom in a brand new place. We may find that our humble week of bloom time will far exceed the months of frost, snow, rain, mud and heat we have endured. All the pain and hurt will be worth it, for as we open our eyes to the world above us, we will have no choice but to allow the warm sunshine to penetrate our hearts.
May we all have faith that our day of full bloom isn’t far off, and is coaxed ever closer by our faithful growth, the slowly warming earth around us and the brave dream of sprouting into the unknown world above us.