So in January we moved into a new home in a new neighborhood. A nearly 100 year old house in a quirky urban residential Seattle sanctuary. Like most places here it had an overgrown, almost indistinguishable, assortment of dormant greenery that hinted of some long past intention. Actually it looked as if someone stood on the expansive front porch with their back to the yard and launched bulbs, seeds and plantings over their shoulder and left them to chance. I didn’t care so much at the time. I was just happy to once again have a small spot of nature to care for again. I began the year with anticipation of the blooming period which would inform me of the specifics of my inheritance. Soon into the year I was reminded that my patience was not as plentiful as the mass of brown that stared back at me with every passing day. Within a few weeks I began an attempt at surgically cutting back some things that I assumed belonged there. This helped briefly with the patience thing, but not for long. I knew something was going on beneath the cover of brown, at least I hoped there was. When Spring finally broke feebly through and the brown began to turn green, I was not as encouraged as I had imagined that I would be. While some of the green began to flower and become recognizable, much of it just became indistinguishably green. Like many committee meetings that I’ve endured over the course of ministry, I was getting hopelessly lost in the weeds. Patience had reached its end. I had a timeline in mind and that timeline ended with green. It was time to move on. So I pulled and cut and trimmed all things that I hadn’t seen signs of bloom yet. In fact, at one point I most likely would have annihilated everything that hadn’t show me a color beyond green if it weren’t for weather patterns that conflicted with my free time … the rest would have to wait.
An interesting thing happened in the waiting though. Remnants of green that had survived my initial onslaught began to take on color and bloom. It caused me to pause. Each day that I walk out now I see signs of something else taking bloom. Things that time and weather allowed me to hack down in other parts of the yard have survived in the places that I couldn’t get to. I have to tell you they are becoming beautiful. I am looking at my yard and its design differently now. I still question whether or not there was ever a plan but the reality is that it works. In my own personal bloom cycle, the daffodils and tulips that bloomed early were all that was really of value. They bloomed when I wanted them to, on my schedule. They were beautiful, but far less so than the entirely of what promises to bloom all Spring and Summer long. My own vision and thoughts were so limited to what was seen in the moment. Little thought was given to what might be happening under the surface … in the brown, in the green, in the weeds. I almost missed it. Now I’m far less likely to cut it down.
I wonder how much of this seasons journey translates into my opinion of my neighborhood? I wonder how much I’ve cut myself off from because it didn’t happen in my time? I wonder how much I’ve pulled out before blooming … relationships, opportunities, signs of life? What would things look like if I had let them go till they were ready? I’ll probably never know the answer to these, I no longer have control of those outcomes. What I do have from here is the ability to give time, to have patience, to not demand conformity, to rest in the random and wait for it to bloom.