Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Future blooms are buried under the snow

I took a ride with a friend on Saturday to get some suet for the birds. The roads were still quite icy and drifted over, but it was good to get out and I enjoyed the ride in the sunshine and the view of the fresh snow. Gosh, there are piles and drifts higher than I’ve seen in ­­­many years.
When I was at the store, I noticed a beautiful display of spring flowers. Blooming daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths greeted me with their sweet fragrance and bright, cheerful colors. I stood there for a moment with my nose in the hyacinths and breathed in the fragrance of spring. It can’t be THAT far away, can it?
On the way home my mind was drifting to thoughts of those flowers and the warmer weather that they reminded me of. I kept thinking about all those bulbs that I planted in late fall and wondered how many of them would bloom this year. They were planted very late in the season and were purchased on clearance so I really don’t know if any of them will survive this harsh winter. I can only hope that at least some of them will greet me with the same fragrance and cheerful hello….in due time.
When my friend dropped me off at home, I stood in the driveway and looked around the yard. I can’t really go far in the yard because the snow is so deep that I couldn’t possible walk through it, but I have a large driveway and I walked around the perimeter looking at the many flower beds that I put in last summer. They are buried in several feet of snow at the moment, but way underneath those piles are a couple of hundred bulbs and dozens of perennials just waiting to spring forth with new life…..when the snow is gone…..when the time is right…..when the “stuff” piled high on them is removed….in due time. 
­­I thought about those daffodils for several hours in the afternoon and how my journey is similar. I have been blessed to have had many people in my life who planted “seeds and bulbs” in me with the hopes that I would bloom, grow, and blossom. My parents and grandparents planted the seeds of faith, love, hard work, respect….the list is endless. Teachers, neighbors, aunts and uncles, my priest….friends….again the list is endless….planted other seeds throughout the years. They taught me value people over things…..to trust……to be strong….to walk closely with God….. so many things!  They nurtured me and helped me grow. They pruned and weeded when I needed it….all so that I could blossom to my fullest potential…..in due time. ­
Some years I bloomed better than others. Some winters (struggles) were harder than others and ­­I didn’t bloom quite so beautifully (sometimes not at all for a time) in the following months and years. Sometimes after an extremely harsh period of life, I needed more care and nurturing. Sometimes I even needed to be “dug up” and the rotten, decaying parts of me needed to be cut away. Sometimes I even needed to be ­­moved someplace else (new job, new location, new relationships, new thought process….even when I didn’t want to change) to ensure new growth.
Likewise, those plants and bulbs will require me to care and nurture them if I want them to reach their full potential and continue to thrive year after year. But before I can do any of that, they need to be unburied. The piles of snow and ice needs to melt; the debris, leaf accumulation, and fallen twigs and branches need to be cleared off….in due time. Certainly if I did that now, they would not have the protection of the blanket of snow to protect them from the remaining months of harsh weather and the elements that could damage them. That heavy blanket of snow has insulated them, hopefully giving their roots time to become established and allowing the nutrients in their bulbs and stems to strengthen them so that they will blossom in the spring.  I have faith that spring will come again and in due time, the snow will melt allowing them to grow. As long as they are buried underneath all that stuff, they will never bloom.  So much like me.
I spent a lot of years living under the heavy burden of excess weight. It was warm and safe there and the excess weight served as a way of keeping others away. You’ve likely read that my massive weight gain came as a result of several very significant and painful losses that I experienced in a short period of time. The more I ate, the bigger I got, and the more I felt protected from future hurts and disappointment. My excess weight kept me isolated and alone because people eventually quit reaching out to me, inviting me to join them for events or parties, or expected things of me. I buried myself deeper and deeper in depression, pain, and despair…all things that kept me from growing spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. No doubt, though, that God was working under the surface…in that pain….to prepare me for this new life. Without that period of dormancy….without those years of struggle….without those experiences and losses….none of this new life would be possible. God never left me…even in those most difficult years…and in due time…HIS TIME…..he began to remove those thoughts, beliefs, actions that were keeping me from growing and blooming. Just like the piles of snow on the bulbs; it’s necessary to prepare the bulbs to blossom, but until it is removed….there will be no blooms.  Until God removed that “stuff” that was weighing me down, I was never going to bloom.  Nature will take care of the snow...in due time….just like God took care of me…when the time was right.
Every day I encounter things that try to bury me….try to weigh me down….try to stunt my growth and choke out my joy and peace. It is a constant battle to continue to surrender those things…to remove the doubt and anxiety, to rid myself of the fear and negative thoughts that threaten my new life. I must continually nurture my soul…provide my body with good, nutritious food….care for my physical and emotional well-being….because unless I do, this new life will cease to exist.
I ask YOU today….what things are weighing you down?  What things are causing you to remain trapped in a body that is holding you back?  What thoughts and actions do you need to get rid of so that you may bloom and blossom and experience new life?  The most important question is “what are you going to do about it?”  What steps to do you have to take?  Are you willing to take the risk and do the work to change your life or would you rather just remain dormant and stagnant?  The choice is yours….