Have you ever heard the phrase, “Bloom where you are planted?” The thought is that we should try and do the best we can given the circumstances in which we are currently living. It is a terrific goal, but it isn’t always easy. The past few weeks have had me thinking about “blooming.” This may sound strange, since there is snow on the ground all around. However, each year I plant an amaryllis bulb, and the past few weeks have seen it grow and bloom.
You can see its progress below.
As I’ve watched the process unfold, I’ve been thinking about a few truths that apply to how we, as human beings, blossom in life. This line of thought has been further fueled by the fact that we are drawing toward the end of a decade, a time when we tend to look back and consider how well we are doing at this thing called “life.”
If you find yourself doubting your progress, or wondering if you are fulfilling your purpose, I hope the following ideas provide a measure of relief and peace.
Blooming Is Not Automatic
A couple of years ago I planted my traditional amaryllis with great expectation. Unfortunately, all it did was grow green leaves. No flowers ever arrived. I didn’t do anything differently, so I can’t explain why the flower failed. Life is just like this sometimes. We can do everything right, and things still don’t turn out the way we had hoped.
Does that mean we should give up? Perhaps. Often a bad experience will make us want to close the door and turn in a new direction. Still, at other times, we simply need to try again.
Blooming Takes Vision
Have you ever seen an amaryllis bulb? It is a pretty ugly thing: a large brown ball, with what look like dried-out worms dangling from beneath it. If I didn’t know what it was, I would never guess that it had the potential to produce these gorgeous flowers.
Not everyone will agree with our personal dreams and ideas. They might think we are chasing after a losing proposition. Fortunately, all that matters is that we have a clear idea of where we are headed. In most cases, those around us tend to hop on board as we make progress and see results. If people tell us we are wrong, we can just thank them for their opinion and move on.
Blooming Takes Time
I planted this bulb before Thanksgiving. Therefore, it has taken about four weeks to reach this stage of beauty. To be honest, I questioned whether I was starting a bit too early this year. However, I had a free moment so I decided to just go ahead and get it going. Turns out, my timing was just about perfect. Here we are in the peak of the season and my flowers are bringing me joy each day.
We often delay getting started on a desired project or initiative. In reality, it is rarely too soon to take the first step. All we need to do is get the ball rolling, and the next step will usually present itself.
Blooming Is An Unfolding
It has been interesting to me to see that the flowers from this one bulb are opening at different times. In fact, one has opened each day for the past four days, and it looks like I will have still another blossom or two coming from a second stalk. I find it comforting and exciting to think that good things in my life can keep emerging, often unexpectedly.
Regardless of our age, we can keep reaching and watching for what good thing might be next.
Blooming Happens Intermittently
I know from previous experience that once these flowers are finished blooming, they will dry out and fall off. The plant will eventually need to be put into a dormant phase until it is pulled out next year to start again. Good moments ebb and flow.
This is one reason why I like to have multiple endeavors underway in my life. On any given day, at least one may be going well, and that can be enough to keep my spirits up.
Blooming Requires Support
Forcing an amaryllis bulb requires that I nestle the bulb into a moist growing medium and keep it warm. Once the new growth appears, I add small amounts of water to help it grow. In addition, as the stalks shoot up, I rotate the pot each day, as they tend to grow toward the sun, and can easily break if they tip too far in one direction.
Most of us need counsel and assistance as we stretch toward blooming. This isn’t a sign of weakness, but a wise acknowledgement of the complexity of life. No one reaches the mountaintop alone. It contrast, stubborn self-sufficiency is one of the quickest ways we sabotage ourselves. We all need help to get started, encouragement along the way, and someone who cares enough to help us stay on course and in balance.
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On a personal note, since Christmas is just about here, I want to remember that as wonderful as blooming is, it is not what determines our value. Christmas celebrates that fact that even when we are a mess and everything we try goes wrong, we are powerfully and greatly loved.
I hope you will get to enjoy some beautiful moments over the next couple of weeks, and extend yourself grace as you pursue your journey.