There are beginnings.
They all have beginnings.
So do plants.
Whether at the hand of a gardener's plan or the whim of nature ~ the Master Gardener's plan ~ a seed finds itself in the soil at a moment in time when conditions are just right: just enough sun, not too much rain. Hidden beyond even the observation of the gardener who planted the seed in the first place, roots are sprouted and something begins to grow.
A tiny little green promise pushes through the soil, bravely revealing itself to the elements.
The elements can nurture. They can also destroy.
The tiny plant soldiers on.
The stem begins to grow and send out tiny leaves.
Nutrients are sucked from the soil. The wind pushes the stem to near breaking,
strengthening the plant, and thereby stacking the odds in favor of it's survival in the process..
Gardeners are, by nature, patient people. They have to be. Seeds take their time. Nature delivers her gifts of the critical elements on no ones schedule but her own. The gardener must wait. He can dream of the flowers, he's seen them before. He can almost smell them, they are so real to him; he's enjoyed their fragrance and been intoxicated by their beauty; yet he knows he must wait.
And then, finally, the bud appears.
This is the learning moment for me.
I know what it feels like to look at the tightly packed buds on my favorite plants and anticipate
the wildly colorful flowers they promise. Getting in close, I can see the protective leaves wrapped around the hint of petals tucked beneath. That's when I remember back to my Grandmother's bank of sunflowers. It was a wild patch that grew in the back yard right near the old wooden posts which held up her clothesline.
Early one summer as she pulled wooden clothespins from the flour sack bag and pinned my Grandpa's pants to the old wire line, I noticed the patch of sunflower plants were covered with buds. I wanted to pick flowers for my Grandma but none were blooming yet. Conditions were perfect for the flowers and they promised to bloom soon, but it was too soon. The buds were not ready.
Impatiently, wanting to surprise my Grandma,
I picked a handful of the stems and sat down in the grass.
Carefully......or as precisely as one can with a willow twig and a clothespin for surgical tools, anyway......I removed the protective outer leaves of the flowers. I was going to make the flowers bloom. Today.
Not tomorrow. Not next week.
I wanted them today.
Like a child often does, I wanted them when I wanted them when I wanted them.
Why? Well. Because I wanted them.
So I got my face right down into those buds and ever-so-carefully I picked and pulled at the individual petals, coaxing them out of their God-designed incubator and into the sunlight that dried my Grandma's sheets to crisp that beautiful day.
And this is what I ended up with:
The dismantled carnage of what, just a few minutes earlier, held all the promise
of a magnificent flower to come. The beautiful petals lay in a shredded mess.
I think back to those forced flowers all these years later, thankful for their lesson.
Beginnings are beautiful, but we must not betray them with our impatience by forcing
the blossom before it's time.
God is the Master Gardener.
He has a plan for flowers and for all his creations.
His hand is everywhere and his timing perfect.
Trusted to the journey he designed,
the flower unfolds as the magnificently beautiful creation he had planned all along.
I still get as excited over beginnings as the little girl who sat in the grass at my Grandma's feet.
But I have learned to trust the plan and timing of my creator,
knowing the beauty of the perfect unfolding he designed, is worth the wait.