Monday Moment, May 27th
Springtime in West Virginia is so lovely! Crocuses, tulips and daffodils rise up to border and brighten my walking path. Dogwood and Redbud trees add sprinkles of white and purple among the green hills. Colorful peonies gift us with a delightful fragrance from their beautiful blooms. Except for the sneezing, I love this time of year!
The gradual opening of buds into blooms offers a new message for me this season.
After the cold and often harsh winter, a tightly-enclosed bud waits until the conditions are right for emerging from its protective enclosure. The bud senses that there is both enough light and enough warmth to open and flourish. Its vulnerable blooms are slowly exposed as the sunlight increases and consequently, temperatures warm.
Once fully open, the revealed flower shows its true beauty with all who pass by; it shares its nectar and pollen with bees, birds and other small creatures; it casts its delightful fragrance upon the breeze. The blooming flower fulfills its glorious purpose- that of bringing its unique beauty and sweetness to other living things.
I wonder how many of us have a self-protective tendency to remain enclosed within our buds, hiding under layers of cultural norms, religious doctrines, societal expectations or family systems. We refrain from revealing our own search for truth and purpose by keeping our questions, doubts, brokenness, insights, hopes, or dreams to ourselves. We choose to spare ourselves from the embarrassment, judgment, or exclusion that might result from our honest seeking.
We are so fortunate when we have a place to belong, with people who love us as we are. We develop into our true selves when we have a safe space to wrestle with our doubts, ask the deeper questions, and wonder about possibilities without feeling threatened or diminished. We heal and flourish as God’s creation when we have people who accept us and embrace us as is, with all of our wounds, quirks, and questions.
What if our faith communities fostered the conditions that are conducive for blooming? What if we became the warm, light, gentle atmosphere that would enable people to reveal their fully-human identity, to share their broken and beautiful souls, to risk being vulnerable? In doing so, they would be able to explore their God-created identity, realize their God-given purpose, and discover their God-fashioned beauty.
One heavenly day we will enjoy a fellowship where all of our true, diverse and unique purposes are fully revealed, as well as fully embraced and appreciated. Until that day, how might we encourage one another to open up our protective buds and fully bloom- and then share that unique beauty and sweetness with other living things?