Blossom and bloom
Twenty – two years is a relatively long time to spend with one person by some standards. Over the course of those years, I am so glad that we have lost some of the formality of titles. At some point, I just started calling his people – MY PEOPLE! When I talk about my cousins (like Ellen or Amy) or sisters (Mary, Rita, or Lori), I don’t mention the words in-laws any longer. First of all it is exhausting and complicated to explain the relationships, and second, in God’s eyes we are all family. Frankly, I don’t like to say, “Well this is so-n-so and she is married to Daniel’s cousin”, because honestly we are closer than our husbands; therefore, we ARE the cousins! Along with my own people, I quite possibly have one of the biggest families around.
Woven into the fabric of families are traditions and treasures. I recently finished the memoirs of an adopted grandma (Here I go again! My FAMILY is HUGE!), and cradled in her words were examples of those sweet time-honored traditions like the ebb and flow of life on the South Dakota prairie. While it might get missed by the careless reader, one such tradition shared over and over was that of lunch twice a day. (I could write a whole book on colloquialisms of the word lunch, but on the prairie that meant coffee about nine or nine-thirty and again at two. Just roll with it, if that’s not your definition of lunch.) When I read her words, I was surrounded by the warm cozy feeling you get when wrapped in a favorite old quilt.
On Friday, I had my own blessed encounter – shared with my beloved – regarding a treasure that originated in his family. Said treasure is a rose bush that started out on the family homestead in Wales, North Dakota. This was the home where my other Mom and her siblings were raised in the backyard of the Canadian border. As my understanding goes, cuttings from the rose followed the family into town, and later into the yards and gardens of the children and grandchildren of Grandpa and Grandma Nowatzki.
A few years back, we asked Mom if we could have a cutting for our front yard garden. She said that we could, but the time of year wasn’t the best to make one. Unbeknownst to us, she and Rita lovingly and tenderly drove the cuttings down to Minnesota later that summer. Promptly, we planted it right outside our bedroom window, where we nursed, fertilized, and generally loved on that plant.
More than once, I was moved to tears because she never looked like she held much promise. I felt like such a failure when it came to the Wales rose (clearly not her trade name, but as my sister Mary says, it’s her name now). In fact, one time a friend came to help me do some landscaping and declared our family treasure – a stick. I vehemently argued that she was, indeed, NOT a stick. How could she think such a thing? I explained it was a family heirloom and exhorted that I was disappointed that she couldn’t see its beauty inherent. The slight shrug of her shoulders indicated she wasn’t convinced.
Over the weekend, we were a demolition crew, home remodelers, landscape architects, and home organizers, all wrapped into one big team. During the landscaping portion of our home improvement, I was beckoned to come quickly by my sweetie watering the garden bed between our house and the neighbors. There was urgency in his voice that I don’t normally hear. I jumped up and came running. Upon arrival, all I saw were some zinnia cotyledons and beautiful clematis flowers (both of which I had seen all week). My perplexed eyebrows must have given a hint at my annoyance of being called away from Reed’s garden. A quick head nod indicating around the corner of the house to the front garden changed my outlook. I moved over a few footsteps and was stopped breathlessly in my tracks. There were two of the most beautiful blossoms on our prized Wales rosebush.
I smiled in the middle of happy tears at two thoughts. We finally did it – loved her enough to blossom! Followed by how much love one man could give, fully knowing that simple sight would make my day! He knows this because he also knows that none of my childhood favorites would survive the harsh winters of Minnesota; therefore, I had to adopt one of his.
Later as I got ready for bed, I saw those beautiful blooms outside my window. I felt my heart stirring. I’m probably a whole lot like that rosebush to God. When, at times in my life, I have been the stick, He just kept on coaxing and nudging – hoping that I would bloom. (If you have ever read The Shack, the Holy Spirit as a gardener fits here perfectly.) He didn’t give up when others declared – she is just a stick with thorns. Nope! He saw the potentiality, the promise, the HOPE he had for me and my future. I definitely needed pruning (don’t we all?) along the way, but there, at the core, was God’s beauty just waiting for the perfect timing to bloom.