She came bearing a gift. I inquired.”Hey, what’s in the bag?” Liz, a beautiful, young woman who had asked if I’d mentor her, grinned at me. Her eyes sparkled as she and pulled a delicate orchid plant out from the brown grocery bag and set it before me on the table where I was seated. She peered directly into my eyes, smiled her familiar smile then paused to collect herself, her thoughts and her composure. She exhaled and said, “I’m not going to cry, but I just want you to know how grateful I am for the time that we’ve had together as you have been meeting with me for almost a year now. So I bought this orchid to say thank you.” I was touched and thrilled. “Aw, It’s so lovely! Thank you.” I thought. This blooming orchid represented a year of: Tea, tissue, tons of tears, talks, journals, scriptures, coordinating schedules, lots of prayer and many hugs.
Liz had asked to be mentored during a time when it felt like the rug had been pulled out from under my feet. It seemed like the rug was, at times, slipping and I was trying to ride it like a magic carpet. I rode somewhat unsteadily, yet still I remained standing. Phew- Glory to God! During that year God sent Liz directly to me, no doubt. Our meetings were God’s appointments. She has the gift of tears. I mean tons of them in plentiful supply. She’s able to cry easily and feel empathy deeply. This a gift for someone experiencing loss and confusion and grief.
God sent her for sure! It’s a mutual relationship, but more than me simply pouring into her she has also lavished me with care, concern and compassion. I was so delighted in this lovely blooming gift she gave me. So I thanked her, gave her a big squeeze and suggested, “Let’s head upstairs for Bible study.”
As was my ritual those evenings, I met my husband, our son and daughter-in-law and her parents for sushi dinner after Bible study. Because that year had so many unknowns and I’m extremely relational this trusted rhythm was both predictable and a true highlight in my week. So I left Bible study, dashed through the frigid parking lot and raced over to the restaurant. In my haste, I forgot the orchid on the floor of the back seat of the car. It was pretty cold outside so that was my grave error.
Later when I brought the orchid in my house it already had begun to show signs of dying. The next day the green leaves at the base were pitch black, most of the flowers had fallen off except for a few dangling pedals. I knew I had killed the very plant which represented so much life and love. Seriously, it didn’t make it in my possession even 24 hours? I was so bummed and frustrated because I didn’t remember to take the plant in while we ate sushi.
As I looked at the pathetic plant, I knew I couldn’t just toss it. Ugh! I doubted it would ever grow, but I hoped for what seemed impossible. I kept it with the other plants that my husband tends to and waters. I felt silly because I had to cut most of it away. It had every indication of never blooming again. The following year only the green leaves were growing without a stem or any flowers at all, but I waited and hoped against hope. This year, to my great amazement and joy, it bloomed!
Now let me ask you. What’s your dead spot? Is there something in your life that feels dead without hope of ever blooming again? I guess I’m asking what’s your orchid? Yeah, I know, it’s probably not an orchid. Yet maybe you feel like you’ve killed something, neglected something or someone and now there’s no hope. What is your “dead orchid?” While you’ve read this perhaps you’ve thought about:
- a dream
- a relationship
- a marriage
- an orchid
- your health
- a child
- a friendship
- a gift
- a talent
- your finances
Hope is the eager expectation that something better is in store tomorrow.
Romans 5:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 64:4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Just like the way I inquired of my sweet, young friend Liz, “Hey, what’s in the bag?” I believe God too comes bearing gifts which he desires to give. He pulls the gift from His bag, sets it on the table of our lives. He smiles at us, looks into our eyes and says, “I am the God of all hope and every good and perfect gift comes from me. Child I know you’ve been waiting. Do you to want see what’s finally come to bloom? Here you go! Trust me I always give good gifts.”
photo credit: Rachel Inouye (YEP! That’s the blooming orchid!)