Last October, I planted four tulip bulbs along my front rock wall because I needed to see how God could bring new life from something that looked dry and dead. It’s been a long winter. We’ve had wind and icy rain, broken branches and uprooted trees, and a good amount of snow. Some days I passed that wall and wondered how the little bulbs were faring, deep in the ground. It must be awfully cold and dark down there, I frequently thought, as I wondered how anything could ever grow in conditions like that.
Still, they did their quiet work, out of my view and without my help. On an average March day, I meandered past the place they were planted and reached out to give them a little blessing, which is completely normal, and I noticed that the little tulip heads were beginning to show themselves. At first it seemed as though only three had broken through, and I heavily mourned the loss of the fourth for a second or two until I noticed it had made it after all. The top of the tulip was battling with the small stone I had left as a marker on the surface. I moved it out of the way.
Of course, I snapped pictures and brought the family out to see this miracle that had happened right in our very yard. Growth happened just below the surface, amazing growth, and all I needed to do was plant and wait. I didn’t water or fertilize or tend. Apart from the occasional blessing, the tulips got no help from me. Rather, what was inside of them all along caused the bulbs to burst forth to find the light. Incredible.
The day that followed my tulip discovery brought over two feet of snow to our area, and I admit, the forecast sent me googling for ideas on how to protect these four young flowers from the elements. And I probably did wonder aloud just how it could be that a little bulb could work that hard to produce a flower just to have a ton of snow dropped on its head. Likely, I questioned the fairness of it while I searched for tulip blankets online. But here’s the funny thing: my tulips are presumably fine. They weather this kind of thing quite well actually, according to everything I’ve read. Tulips want to grow and they know how to wait out a storm. Bottom line: they’re made to be beautiful and to reach for the sun, and they’re tougher and smarter than they look.
I’ve seen an inkling of the miraculous spectacle these four flowers will become, and now it’s just a matter of waiting for the melting. One day very soon the sun will shine warm on my little garden and the ice will fall away and the flowers will reach and stretch and bloom for all to see. It will be beautiful.
And I almost missed it, but just now the gentlest voice whispered to remind me of the most important part. “Ah, but don’t you see?” asked the small, still voice. “The sun has been shining all along.”