Bloom in the middle…of what?

CIMG2031

I took this picture on a family vacation to California.  As we hiked Mount Shasta, I was intrigued by the plants shooting up through stony ground.  They weren’t unhealthy plants.  They weren’t withered, brown or dry.  They were strong with feathery leaves and vibrant yellow blossoms illuminating nooks and crannies in a grey landscape.  Unexpected.  Bright. Colorful. Life-giving.

My mind has returned to this image many times, reminding me that I don’t need the surroundings of my life to be beautiful and perfect in order to flourish.

Today I think about the beautiful young children I had later in life, the parents I want to care for as the years progress, the career I left after having children, the next step in my future professional life, the old home we recently left behind, the city where we moved, the new home we just purchased and the growing pains of finding our community in an unfamiliar place.

There are times when I feel overwhelmed by my past and my future lives.  But I don’t want to be waiting, waiting for my circumstances to feel more comfortable before I can truly enjoy my life.  You know, waiting for that elusive (and usually unattainable) time when somehow everything aligns and then–THEN–I can move forward.

I want to bloom now.  Now, when the ground feels dry and pebbled beneath my feet, when I’m still missing my old life.  Now, when the landscape feels a bit grey and I don’t have my “tribe” of people yet.  Now, when the future is uncertain and I can only see far enough ahead to set down one foot at a time.

This is the challenge.  This is a personal challenge to find beauty in a small moment and have it be plenty for my soul, to savor a conversation purely for that exchange with another person, to be curious about learning and exploring a new space, to experience the fear of walking into a room knowing no one and doing it anyway, to grow in persistence when I take risks and they fall flat, to lean into my faith with no other visible safety nets of friends and comfort zones underneath to catch me when I stumble.  To do these things and give myself grace when I don’t, this is the gift of blooming wherever life leads.

Bloom in the middle.  Unexpected.  Bright. Colorful. Life-giving.