Strong Enough to Bury
Have you ever considered how much faith it takes to plant a tulip bulb? To plant a bulb or seed in the ground is to take something full of life and promise and then bury it under dirt, leave it for dead, and trust that it will somehow rise to new life at the right time. It seems downright counter-intuitive, but we see this principle in nature all around us.
Even though I’ve never been the mistress of impressive gardens, I’ve always considered myself to have a gardener’s soul. Maybe by default, since my precious Grandma Mig was an avid gardener who invited me into the melee. (Upon arrival at Grandma’s house, she’d say with a twinkle in her eye, “Let’s go survey the kingdom,” and we’d walk out back to see what was blooming or ripening.) So throughout school and my early years of adulthood, I’ve always had something on hand to keep green–the Chia kit herb garden in middle school, house plants in my college dorm, and some of Grandma’s perennials that I’ve transplanted & towed with me from house to house.
But this spring it dawned on me that I’ve never had enough faith to plant spring bulbs. Even though the emergence of daffodils, tulips, hyacinth and crocus at winter’s end delights my heart every spring, in five years of owning our townhouse, I never once took that step of faith in our yard. Though I thought about it each fall, I’d reason that it wasn’t worth the effort because 1) I’d plant them wrong and they wouldn’t survive the cold winter, 2) the deer would eat them, 3) our front yard wouldn’t provide enough sunlight, 4) maybe we’d move and I wouldn’t be there to enjoy them anyway. But looking back now, I see that I’d been robbing myself and anyone who passed by of an opportunity for joy…just because I was worried it might not work out, that I might fail, that the conditions wouldn’t be right. So I never tried.
Fast forward to this summer. We finally moved away from our townhouse (leaving narry a bulb behind, of course) and landed here at this 30-acre garden of Eden where people had been pouring their hearts into this soil for more than a hundred years. I find myself surrounded by mature fruit trees bearing apricots (my blog’s namesake, of course 😉 ), peaches, plums, apples and pears; roses smelling heavenly in a dozen different colors and sizes; ornamental trees generously adding shade, texture and color; and different kinds of flowers popping up to surprise us each week. I didn’t do any of the work, but I get to enjoy the results of their labor. It’s a gift.
When Seth and I got down on our knees to add my Grandma’s perennials to the front garden, guess what we unearthed there? Spring bulbs. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of them. We couldn’t sink our shovels into the ground without pulling out handfulls of the little brown nuggets. Someone who came here before me had faith.
I want to be that kind of person, someone with a generous faith, more than enough to share. With so much love and joy and acceptance that I’m confident enough to give it all away indiscriminately, without holding back. What would the world look like if we chose to sow these gifts generously, instead of allowing fear to hold us back? There would be nothing left to fear if our faith rested on Someone so strong and full of Life that even death & burial couldn’t stop resurrection!
I also wonder, what else in my life do I need to let go of, to let it “die” for a season so that it can hibernate and possibly be raised to new life at the right time? Since I am very close to entering motherhood for the first time (our baby was “due” yesterday), I suspect I will have the opportunity to let go of many things during this season of life. Help me remember the beauty in that, okay? I may need the reminder.
Now that I’ve unearthed my predecessors’ bulbous promises from this ground, they must be planted again, of course. And it’s time to do that, before winter’s frost hardens the earth for its long hibernation. I hope I plant them right. I hope they get the sunshine they need to grow again. But even if I wasn’t here to enjoy them myself next spring, I would be okay with that. This place is teaching me to bury my bulbs more generously. I want to add to the beauty for others to enjoy some day.
Some inspirational verses about a love strong enough to bury:
“I tell you the truth, unless a seed is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.” (John 12:24)
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6)
“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” (Proverbs 11:24-25)
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)
Question to Ponder: What has fear held you back from doing? What is the worst and best that could happen if you chose to act in faith instead of fear in that situation?