A friend gave me a pot of vibrant, red tulips as a belated birthday present when she came to visit me over a month ago. I enjoyed the beautiful blooms for as long as they lasted, but soon they started to fade, the leaves withering shortly thereafter.
Fortunately, I’ve gained enough experience with plants over the last year to not be dismayed by this process. I quickly looked online to learn about tulip care, then I let the leaves wilt completely before cutting them off, in accordance with my research. Soon I was taking the bulbs out of the dirt, gently shaking each one clean before storing them in a paper bag in a dark corner of my closet to allow them to rest and be replenished for a season.
This whole process reminded me of the hyacinth my mom gave me last year and the similar process it had to go through. Ideally, I would have planted it outdoors last fall, but since we still live in an apartment with no land of our own, it stayed covered until recently. As I withdrew it from its resting spot, I nervously wondered what might have become of it at this point.
Fortunately, despite all the gardening mistakes that I’m sure I have made with this plant, I was delighted to see bright green shoots protruding out of the dirt. Life was beginning to spring forth after an extended time of darkness, hiddenness, and rest.
Thinking about these two plants and the necessary process they must pass through to bloom for another season has caused me to think a lot about how necessary the different seasons of our lives are. In particular, I have given much thought to how vital our own seasons of winter must be. Perhaps our own lives can only flourish and blossom again after we weather our own personal winters.
We all inevitably need times of rest and quietness. Maybe those moments where we feel most hidden, or where we are forced to take an extended period of rest, or simply when the days seem the coldest and darkest are the moments in which God is preparing us for the coming spring, where life will be vibrant and we can fully thrive again. Because even when we feel hidden, God’s eyes still continue to be upon us. And when we are forced to be still and rest, He is still at work within us. And even when darkness seems to surround us, His Word is still a lamp to our feet and light to our path (Psalm 119:105). He doesn’t waste our winter seasons in any way.
These thoughts make me want to encounter my own future winters differently. I want to recognize that God is at work even then, and that the winter months will eventually give way to a beautiful spring as long as I let Him have His way in me during the long winter days. But I don’t want to always just look forward to the spring. I hope and pray that I can find the beauty in all the seasons as they ebb and flow throughout life, both physically and personally.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”Ecclesiastes 3:1