Each summer, I am surprised when I see something I planted actually grow and blossom. I am especially pleased when my perennials return. It is like a gift coming up from the soil to welcome the season, and I, in turn, welcome each one with gladness and quite a bit of shock. Our soil is hard and lacks the nutrients that promote easy gardening, so we do our best with what we have, even though we aren’t anywhere close to being Richard and Ethel Hext.
Several years ago, my favorite type of yard work used to be weed-eating. I loved getting in my anti-allergy gear and chopping down the unwanted growth. I much preferred this to trying to make anything pretty grow, as my black thumb seemed to prevent any plants or flowers from flourishing. I found a satisfaction of getting rid of what was unsavory, and that was enough. Then.
So what changed?
The answer is simple. My heart.
When my primary concern was ridding the yard of weeds, my heart was covered in its own blanket of Goatheads that choked out any hope of tulips or marigolds. I literally cut down weed after weed after weed in an attempt to figuratively rid my soul of the same. Conversely, as I made changes necessary in order to align my heart with that of my Father in Heaven and his son, Jesus Christ, calla lilies and daisies sprouted from my very being.
I was eleven, going on twelve, years old when our family moved from Clifton, Arizona to St. Johns. It was a delicate time for a young woman to move to a new town with no friends, entering 7th grade, and missing the life and home I had known for eight years. My ever-insightful and thoughtful mother gave a family home evening lesson about blooming where you are planted. I recall her having a handout of some sort that she gave to each of us, and she had a decoration in our home for many years with that phrase.
After that time, I moved several more times as my life took me to college, to teaching in Tempe, to moving back to St. Johns, to getting married with a home of my own. Each time I have moved, I think of the mantra to bloom where I am planted.
This year, observing the sunflowers that have grown from our planting in prior years as well as from new seeds this year, I can’t stop thinking about this lesson. I had always applied it to actually moving from place to place, when it has much more far-reaching applications.
I need to BLOOM in my callings, BLOOM in my station in life, BLOOM in my relationships, BLOOM in my testimony.
This weekend has been emotional for our family. Paul’s grandpa passed away. Grandma Donna received her Temple endowments. Grandma Donna was also sealed to her parents, sealed to her deceased husband, and Aunt LaDawn, Donna’s daughter, was sealed to her mother and father.
Watching their faces, full of joy, tears of pure eternal bliss running down their cheeks, they epitomize blooming. They have taken many years of heartache, of doubts and fears, of loneliness, and they have turned those weeds into a field of geraniums. They did this the only way it is possible to do. They did it through the forgiveness, and the strength, and the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
That is the only way we can truly bloom.
I still like to weed eat and even pull a few weeds here and there to get my fix (I know… I’m weird), but I much prefer to see the things of beauty emerge from the ground in spite of the soil, in spite of the lack of rain, in spite of the heat and the humidity.
I much prefer to see things bloom.