I’ve been known to dash into the garden on Thanksgiving morning and plant a few more bulbs after I put the turkey in the oven. Probably not this year, since I’ve already planted several hundred bulbs in the last few weeks – crocuses and tete-a-tete (mini daffodils) in my yard, and daffodils and tulips at church. As long as we can still work the soil it isn’t too late to plant bulbs. And this year our unseasonably warm November in Denver has been good for bulb planting.
Dropping dead-looking bulbs into deep holes in the garden is the ultimate plant-it-forward activity. While all the potential for life and beauty are in the bulb, some bulbs look like dead lumps of dirt. Planting bulbs in October and November for flowers in February through April is an annual ritual of faith. Sowing life during the season of dying. Life that comes back every year and multiplies over the years.
This fall, while I was planting new bulbs, I accidentally dug up a few bulbs that I had forgotten about from previous years. I carefully replanted them so they could continue to grow. But I marveled at the wonder of the revealed growth on a bulb, usually hidden during this phase – the stalk pushing upward through the dark soil, and the delicate roots spreading downward. All hidden, in darkness, forgotten, but still growing toward their purpose of bringing forth beauty at just the right moment.
Our soul work is often like the bulbs planted in the hidden places – when resilience springs forth unexpectedly, after a long season of waiting and faithful but unseen growth. Hidden from us does not mean hidden from the creator of the universe. He designed bulbs to have the potential for growth, even when dropped into dark, deep holes. This same God knows that much of our growth toward beauty happens in the dark places, unseen by us, but wholly known by him.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18