One dreary Sunday afternoon last month, when I found myself in an unaccountable funk, Daniel motioned for me to join him at the kitchen window. “I want to show you something,” he said. “You seem grumpy, and I think this will help.”
Grudgingly, I shuffled over to the window, not convinced that anything in the bleak backyard would shake me from my Eeyore-like state. My eyes followed where his finger was pointing, but I didn’t see anything un-grumpifying.
Then I looked harder. Was that a shoot of green amid the brown leaves and post-winter detritus?
I gasped. Could it be . . . ?
Daniel just grinned. Sometimes he knows me better than I know myself.
“Daffodils!” I squealed, loud enough for the entire zip code to hear.
Daniel and I moved into our new home last summer, which means this is our first spring here. I haven’t planted a thing, and the other surprises we’ve come across in the house so far haven’t exactly been pleasant ones, so it didn’t occur to me that there might be some mystery perennials in the garden out back.
But when I saw those brave little shoots sticking their heads out of the cold Midwest soil . . . well, it felt like hope you can see with your own two eyes.
Long before I met Daniel, when I lived alone in my townhouse, I planted daffodils one November with no shovel, only a dull kitchen knife for assistance. The ground was stubborn, but I was even more so.
I was in a funk that day too. I had prayed about one thing for so long, and I could see no sprouts of hope, no signs that spring would come. I wanted—needed—a tangible symbol of hope.
So I went outside and forced those dead-looking bulbs six inches under the ground.
And then I waited.
Sure enough, spring did come. And that thing I’d been praying for came true too, although in a different way and on a different timeline than I ever could have predicted.
And perhaps most shocking of all was the transformation that happened along the way. Over the course of the long winter, the bulbs transformed from shriveled-up turnipy-looking things into bursts of sunshine outside my window. And somewhere along the way, new life bloomed in my heart, too.
Now it’s April, and I marvel at the scene outside my kitchen window—at those clusters of golden, those blooms I didn’t plant myself. And it occurs to me that so often in my life I have benefitted from the perennials other people have planted. They dug deep and packed hope firmly into the soil, and now I bask in the fruits of their labor . . . sometimes long after they’re gone.
There are the parents who planted laughter and love and joy and perseverance.
There are the grandparents who planted faith and loyalty and hard work.
There are the teachers who planted books and words.There are the mentors who planted hospitality and grace.
And I wonder, what are we planting today for the people who come behind us?
They may never fully appreciate the sacrifice.
They may never say thank you.
You may never even meet them face to face.
But somewhere, on some April morning, the bulbs you planted will spring up, like shoots of hope, and those who come behind you will rejoice over the blooms they didn’t plant.
No winter lasts forever. No spring skips its turn. April is a promise that May is bound to keep. And we know it.