It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m thankful for the tiny green shoots of wildflowers I have popping out all over my front yard. There’s a promise in those sprouting weed-like growths. I know even though they look like weeds, and grow like weeds, they aren’t weeds. They’re going to produce masses of yellow and orange African Daisies and bunches of satiny orange California Poppies in another four to six weeks.
To appease the HOA I set out a couple of signs that say, “Wildflowers Under Construction.” I don’t really want to pay a fine for my “weeds” or get out some mean weed killing chemical. I want to see the yard burst into golden waves of color.
I find the symbolism of these flowers particularly appropriate for the challenges I face in my life, large or small. What appears as something terrible, something troublesome, with time, often, not always, but often, in the long run becomes something positive and memorable. I’m not about to proclaim gratitude for trials, oh no, not me. But I am willing to concede that I learn from going through hard times.
There’s a beautiful song, written by Stephen Foster, which I found particularly moving a few years back when the tides of trouble breached all levees and inundated my life. It became an anthem for me of sorts, or a prayer, which I still hum often and think out loud and verbalize while on my knees.
“Let us pause in life’s pleasures to count its many tears,
While we all sup sorrow with the poor;
There’s a song that will linger forever in our ears;
Oh hard times come again no more.
Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard times, hard times, come again no more.
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh hard times, come again no more.”
For me, as for many, if not all, hard times are not a one time event. Hard things press in on us and weigh us down with a weight that is unfathomable. Finding a small thing like the shoots of wildflowers pushing through the weight of rocky soil can bring hope and send a song through the air that lifts the weight ever so slightly.
Looking For Signs
I look for signs of hope all around me. Not just in springtime harbingers, but in everyday life. A newborn’s mewling cry. A teen’s energetic laughter. An older couple holding hands. Help being offered when a need presents itself. Kindness extended, smiles proffered, handshakes offered. Birds chirping. A toddler’s rowdy chaos. Blue skies.
The lyrics of this haunting song continue:
“While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door;
Their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say
Oh hard times come again no more.
Tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave,
Tis a wail that is heard upon the shore
Tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave
Oh hard times come again no more.”
I want to put a “Wildflowers Under Construction” sign on the doors of certain houses that I know. I wish them vision to see the shoots of green that are pushing tentatively up through the rocky ground they’re walking on. I want them to hear the song of hope, however quietly it may lilt in the air. I pray they feel a gentle tug of hope encircle and lift when all seems lost.
I watch for hope, for signs of life and laughter and good things to come. Being small, they aren’t always easy to see. You have to look closely. They’re everywhere, can you see them?