At my age (almost 58) life alterations aren’t as easy as they used to be. I guess I’m not as resilient. Maybe I’m more resistant. Or both. And the last year has been full of change – some stark sadness, lots of questions, professional doubts, all mixed in with some rich blessings.
Like this out-of-season blooming iris. (this pic was taken on Oct 4th)
God created this plant to bloom so what’s the big deal?
This iris is not a re-bloomer, is 20 years old, and is blooming in Minnesota in November! We’re not talking a blossom or two – there have been well over a dozen in the last month. That’s after an explosion of beauty in June.
Every morning I get up and walk to the window expecting the iris to be done already. We’ve had some chilly nights, although not as cold as some Octobers. A couple of light frosts. One so heavy it glistened on the petals. A dusting of snow. High winds. Heavy rain. And still the blossoms glisten in the dawn.
Soon, winter will come, and this stunning iris will go dormant. And look out the window, the blessing still fresh in my heart, and I will wait to see what will happen in the spring. Because they don’t always come back, and this might be this plant’s last hoorah. I pray it’s not, but if it is, the legacy of this iris will live on in my heart.
This iris is special for more than its beauty. It is the last plant I have that Mama bought me for what she called Daughter’s Day years before Hallmark and social media had the idea. She celebrated me in May. With lunch (at The Crafty Mouse Cafe – it’s closed now) and a trip to the nursery to buy a plant for my garden so I’d have something from her as a living legacy.
There were once three. A vibrant blue one name Clarence, a pink one whose name I’ve forgotten, and this yellow one I call Hope. Mama also gave me poppies, tulips, coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, and others. They are gone, but this one remains.
And then there are the months. She would have been 80 on October 25th. Her first birthday without her broke my heart again. And on November 29, 2014, she passed from here to heaven. The days are rugged. Except for this. I don’t see it as a mysterious happening that involves angels or spirits or anything like that. It’s an iris that reminds me of her in our favorite time of the year.
It feels like a gift from God in the middle of the changes and grieving. Because an old Iris blooming in November (in Minnesota) is not the norm.
On October 1st, I asked God to renew my hope and my strength in a way only He could. It was after this desperate and defeated utterance to Him that this started. Before then, there were browning leaves, and no stems because I’d cut them down the way I always do when the spring/early summer blooming is over.
The buds and blossoms are an odd and wonderful thing.
This unexpected yellow radiance floods my soul with hope. Not the wishful thinking kind. The bold, expectant, confident kind that believes that even now – in the middle of my muddle – that God is with me. He is my rock and my shield as the cold winds of change and challenge surge all around me. The shimmer from this flower is a vivid reminder that He is my hope.
Is the iris a miracle? I’m not sure. Maybe there’s a scientific reason for this not-so-normal blooming, but it feels like a sacred blessing in my soul. The way it always does when I say “amen” and know the God of the universe has heard my prayer. The way the Psalmist knew. (Psalm 6:9)
And this late bloomer feels personal. God knows me down to the tiniest detail. He knew I’d be amazed.
If there is a scientific reason the iris is flourishing, that won’t convince me to write this off as that and nothing more. My faith is stubborn. I believe God owns science and He created the minds that understand, so no matter what, this is from Him.
The Lord hasn’t answered all the questions I’ve thrust at him in the last eleven months. He will when the time is right. Or in His perfect wisdom, He won’t. So I wait as quietly as I can, (Psalm 62:5), trust what I read in His Word, and let it be my source of hope. (Psalm 119:114)
And I thank Him for the iris. And for Mama.
Until Next Time,