Even when a rose bush doesn’t have big red roses to show, that doesn’t mean it’s not a rose bush. When all it has is thorns and branches, that means it’s busy growing the next round of beautiful flowers.
Even when you don’t have flowers to show, that doesn’t mean you’re not successful. When all you have is dirt and branches, it means you’re busy growing your next round of flowers, too.
The in-between parts are just as, if not more, important than the end result.
In the in-between, that plant spends days and days taking in nutrients, sunshine, and water to grow and stretch enough to create those little flower buds.
Without the in-between, the “ugly” middle part, there would be no flowers.
They can’t always bloom. They don’t have enough resources or energy. And neither do you.
Perennials can take a year or longer to create just one set of flowers.
You can take longer, too. You can’t always bloom.
It’s not all roses and tulips and peonies all the time. Most of the time, it’s just regular bushes. Bushes with thorns.
You can’t always have big flowers, successes, or pay-offs to show. That would be exhausting. And impossible.
Flowers or no flowers, we love and care for plants all the time. Because we know they need time to grow. Because we know they will bloom again.
My sister took up gardening this year, I’ve gone plant shopping with her a few times. Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping for clothes and shoes, but there’s something much more exciting and rewarding about going to plant nurseries and shopping for real, living things. Plants eat and breathe and live and die, just like we do.
She and I have special affections for succulents. I mean they’re so dang cute! But they’re prickly. Mega prickly. But they’re spiky and sharp because they’ve adapted. They’ve done what they need to do to protect themselves and stay alive.
I think we can all learn some valuable lessons from our plant friends:
Drink water. Lots and lots and lots of it.
Nourish your body. Ironically, we need to eat the fruits and veggies that plants spend all their energy to grow.
Face the sun. Always. “Keep your face to the sunshine and the shadows will fall behind you.”
Growgrowgrow. It’s what you were born to do. Grow big and tall and strong and beautiful.
Grow where others don’t, can’t, or won’t. Be like wildflowers and succulents. Grow on the side of the highway, in the sidewalk cracks, and anywhere you can. Grow in the desert. Grow where you’re planted. And don’t let anyone stop you.
Stand tall. Don’t droop! Be proud of who you are. There’s no other pla— err, person quite like you.
Don’t lose hope, you’ll soon bloom again. If you’re not blooming now, it just means you’re getting ready for the next great thing.
Love your thorns. You grew them for a reason. You’ve adapted, and learned to protect yourself, and that’s good, it’s natural. But know who’s a threat and who’s not. Some people want to care for you and help you grow.
Don’t worry about the plants next to you. So what if they’re a sunflower and you’re a daisy? Don’t let them block your sunlight, and don’t let them make you feel any less worthy, important, or beautiful.
Maybe this is all too metaphorical, or maybe my sister’s love of chlorophyll-ed friends has rubbed off on me… But in spending time with her as she’s grown so many little plant babies, I’ve learned a thing or two.
Most of the time, it’s messy. There’s a lot of dirt involved, and I’m kind of a neat-freak. I’ve learned to embrace the mess, because messy is good. Messy means growth.
Most of the time, plants look the same. For days and days they’re unchanging, leafy and green. And just when you begin to get discouraged and wonder what’s going on in there, they bloom again.
So don’t worry when you feel stuck or lost or un-productive or just dirty, you’re still growing. God doesn’t make mistakes, and his timing is always just right. He’s the ultimate gardener, and only he knows what’s best for you.
If you put your roots in him, he’ll nurture you as much as you need to create your flowers. It takes time, but if you wait faithfully, and learn to love yourself as-is, thorns and all, you’ll love those hard-earned flowers even more.
You can’t always bloom, but you can always grow.