As a person with 10 thumbs, none of them green, I stand in awe of the colors of Spring that appear each year in the gardens of my more-talented neighbors. I am a lover of Nature, but I fear that I often have to worship it from afar. Though I have three extremely healthy children, I have murdered dozens of houseplants (and at least one hamster). So when I received the generous gift of a basket of bulbs, I was thrilled., and then deathly terrified. Would I kill again?
I searched for a way to deal with this dilemma. In the past, my missing green thumb resulted in too much water, too much food, too much sunlight, or the converse. How to relate to these bulbs in a way that was more suited to my nature? As is my way with most issues in my life, I prayerfully considered them, and to my delight, I found the answer.
Then the time came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. —Anais Nin
I realized that the bulbs and I have much in common, because I spent 14 years of marriage in much the same state—a state of waiting, coiled with the potential to blossom, yet locked tight within my skin. Those years were spent in a time of inner growth, invisible to the outside world. While outwardly dealing with a marriage that was less than perfect, I was inwardly exploring and discovering who I was as an individual. Slowly, change began to take place—changes in the way I perceived myself, my relationships, and my place in the world. As with nature, these changes caused increased pressure on my life and my marriage. I began to look at the issues in my life through a new perspective, and the pressure slowly increased, exerting its influence in every area of my life, but most particularly in my marriage.
Of course, as in Nature, pressure often meets resistance—in my case, resistance in the form of a man who had ideas and perspectives of his own, pressures of his own, and a resolute unwillingness to change or grow. So I remained locked tight in the bud, kept my growing to myself. . . until the moment appeared. Exquisite pressure met abject fear, and I was held in the balance. Do you risk everything that you’ve ever been and ever known to become the person that you were intended to be?
Yes, you do.
Because to do otherwise is to die within the bud, to lay waste to the potential to grow, to remain dormant forever. The question, seemingly impossible to answer, was actually very simple. Be the person you were intended to be, live wihout fear, and celebrate the fact of your life with love.
Given the chance to see such wonder before my eyes, I did the only thing this gardener knew to do. I celebrated each bud, took joy in the color and the wonder, and cheered each blossom as it appeared. What better gift than to celebrate again, and again, the awesome gift of potential becoming reality.
Mitzi Bryant is an accountant and freelance writer, when not being Single Mom to her three children: Will, Kate, and Anna. She writes poetry, parenting humor, and articles on the trials and joys of being a single parent. Mitzi and her little family live, love, work, and play in Alabama.