Are You Tending a Deep Hope?

My brand new, fresh-out-of-the-box amaryllis bulb did not grow and bloom last year as I hoped. I followed the step-by-step instructions—I put the premixed potting soil into the plastic pot, planted the bulb so the top third remained exposed above the soil, placed the pot on a table where it would get indirect light, and began watering it regularly.

Since the stem had already started growing while still inside the box, I hoped for a tall strong plant topped with bright red flowers like the ones on the outside of the box. But while the stem did grow a couple of inches, it failed to thrive, and instead of flowers, all I got were leaves.

I was disappointed that my amaryllis bulb didn’t flower—“compost it, and get another one next year,” some advised.

But I wasn’t ready to give up on my dream of flowers just yet. I kept watering the bulb, hoping that the healthy dark green leaves would store up enough energy so the bulb might bloom the following year. I let it rest in a cool, dark closet for the required eight weeks of dormancy. I wrote about my waiting and watching in expectant hope as my unexpected symbol of Advent.

When the eight weeks were up, I waited another couple of weeks just to be sure, then re-potted the bulb in fresh soil. The bulb and its roots looked healthy, so again I was hopeful—and again I waited.

Two green shoots emerged a couple of inches away from the bulb, showing that the main bulb was producing smaller offset bulbs, but the main bulb itself remained unchanged. No stem. Not even leaves.

Then suddenly after weeks of waiting, a shoot emerged from the main bulb, and steadily grew until flower buds appeared and blossomed into these beauties:

Amaryllis in bloom

Wow! My year of waiting, tending, and hoping for flowers was abundantly answered! I’m so glad I hadn’t consigned the bulb to the compost heap after all. New life was waiting to break out in a most beautiful way!

So if you’re waiting for something today, if you’re carefully tending a deep hope but not yet seeing results, if you’re working and watching, and watching and working, and running out of patience—don’t be too quick to toss it all away.

Instead, take some time to consider carefully. Is this really a time to stop tending that deep hope, to set it aside, and find a new one? Or is this a season for persevering and continuing to wait? What may look lifeless may indeed be holding new life stirring deep within, and just as I found with my amaryllis bulb, perhaps your patience will one day be awarded in a stunningly beautiful way.

And now, O Lord, what do I wait for?
    My hope is in you.
Psalm 39:7


Writing/Reflection Prompt:
As a time of preparation for Easter, Lent is a time of waiting. Echoing the words of the psalmist, What do you wait for?

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Write Your Story Workshop
COVID-19 Notice: This event has been cancelled. Stay safe and healthy!


When:
 Saturday, April 18, 10am-3pm. 

Where: 33911 Hazelwood Avenue, Abbotsford, B.C., north entrance – hosted by Valley CrossWay Church which meets at Calvin Presbyterian Church.

What to Bring: Paper and pen, journal, coloured pencils, tablet, laptop, or whatever else you’d like to write with. Your creativity, curiosity, and your own mug for coffee/tea/water. One or more friends – just make sure you each pre-register.

Cost: $65 including coffee break and lunch, but it will again be “pay what you will.” If you’re able to pay the full workshop fee, think of it as an investment in yourself to stop procrastinating and start writing. If funds are an issue for you, please feel free to pay what you will or simply to attend. Either way, please pre-register with the form below. 

Register: To help our planning and to enter for a draw prize, please register on or before Monday, April 13. The draw will take place at the workshop, and you must be present to win. Just fill out the following, and don’t forget to click on the Submit button.

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9 thoughts on “Are You Tending a Deep Hope?

  1. Lovely blooms, April. So glad you were able to see new life in the bulb and to wait. So many lessons in that experiences. I tried for the same result with bulbs that had been “forced” in water. All I got were leaves, but even they brought me joy in winter. I think I will compost them soon, and they can help push up new life in the garden instead of the flower pot! God bless.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Shirley. Your comment reminds me of the song about “nothing is wasted” – whether leaves or flowers or compost, there is life by the grace and power of God.

  2. April, an apt metaphor and, my goodness, how timely! I’ve been eyeing my dying amaryllis leaves with doubled dismay. Two years ago, 3 amaryllis bulbs I purchased created a windowsill sensation. Floral fireworks! I kept them over, carefully following watering and dormancy directions, and this past year brought them out again, then added two more newly purchased varieties—expecting a yuletide bulb bonanza. Result? Lots of leaves. Tall, tall leaves. Only one bulb bloomed. 😦 I haven’t been able to bring myself to toss or compost them. I looked at them again yesterday and inwardly groaned after removing spent leaves. Your post gives me renewed hope for NEXT Christmas. Truth be told, they reflect my life after a year of ill health. Now I will wait for them (and me!) to bloom again through the long summer and fall with renewed hope. Thank you!

    1. How good to see you here, Laurie! I know only too well the disappointment of spent leaves, but perhaps your amaryllis bulbs needed this year off, and you’ll get flowers from them next year. Even more, I pray that you’ll blossom after your year of ill health. I’m joining you in hope….

  3. April, what a beautiful metaphor of patiently waiting and lovingly tending even when things seemed hopeless. This morning Hardy and I read Psalm 130 and a devotional by Bev Regier in Rejoice about “waiting for morning”. So I have now heard it twice, which tells me to pay attention! Patience is not one of my virtues!
    Would love to attend your story writing workshop, but distance is an obstacle!

    1. Thank you, Elfrieda. I hear you about needing patience, and in these days, it seems we have plenty of time to practice! I would love to have you at one of my workshops, but with the coronavirus pandemic, I am expecting to re-schedule the one previously announced for April 18. Hope you are staying healthy and safe!

  4. My bloom story: When I was super busy with my memoir last year, I neglected to pay attention to the orchid that was being scorched in the bathroom, against the wall with glass blocks which magnified the effects of Florida heat in August. The stems were “cooked” brown and dead looking, and I was dismayed for two reasons: That the orchid with 28 blooms the year before now appeared dead + it was my fault.

    Lo, and behold: Resurrection! After I cut back the dead stems, new shoots emerged, and this February I have enjoyed 28 or more purple and ivory flowers. Praise the Lord: “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy,” as the hymn lyrics suggest.

    Thanks for your post of hope and joy!

    1. Wow, what a wonderful bloom story, Marian! Your orchid is a beautiful reminder of resurrection and the deep hope we have now and at all times. Thank you for sharing.

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