At the beginning of the pandemic of 2020, walking outside kept me sane. Every day felt like a rollercoaster. I'd wake up thinking how great it is that we don't have to hustle out the door. I felt excited to work on those art kits and science projects we never got to. But by 11 o'clock, the fear and worry about our future rattled me and the exhaustion of trying to do school with my older kids while my little ones interrupt constantly broke me.
Getting outside brought me back to the present moment. After a while the walk got monotonous, but we made up a game to search for something new we hadn't noticed the day before. It was fun seeing the excitement in the kids when they found something.
One day I stopped, dead in my tracks, at this beautiful, stark, pink flowering bush called a PJM. Pink is not my thing but this bush was a showstopper. My dark thoughts melted away. After our walk, I felt hopeful and inspired. I get worked up trying to get four kids out of the house, it seemed like someone was always missing a shoe, needed a snack, or couldn't find their helmet. But I felt this peace and calmness wash over me.
In a matter of days, the flowers started to wither. The pink melted away. I wondered why the plant couldn't bloom all summer or even all year. It made me think about our lives and our seasons of blooming. I wished those seasons lasted longer too. Most plants can’t bloom all year, just like we can’t continuously bloom. We need times of loss, dormancy, and growth if we want to bloom again.
Experiencing the pain of loss and being in survival mode is hard. Not realizing you are living in shame and fear is scary because I can still feel that deep sense of loneliness and isolation. I don’t want to go back there. I would rather stay in my comfort zone and avoid the darkness for as long as I can.
But we have to work through the hard stuff to flourish. Blooming after processing your pain is glorious. You'll experience life in ways you never thought you could. Its work, its hard gritty work, but when you have that feeling of clarity and you are no longer living in fear and can see the truth in your heart, it's worth it.
Sadly we can’t stay in the bloom phase forever. Old habits often creep back in before you notice, new problems arise, and we get tired of working so hard to hold it together. Shame has a way of taking over your life making you forget about your worthiness.
When my P.J.M flowers withered and the plant was a boring green bush again, I looked closely and noticed new growth on some of the branches. I also noticed something causing some of the leaves to turn red, trying to choke the plant. And so the fight begins again.
We will bloom again, we have to keep seeking the truth, searching for beauty, pouring out our gratitude, and being vulnerable enough to stay alert in the process. Keep holding on because pretty soon those buds will open up again and flourish.