During the time it set under our Christmas tree, an Amaryllis stalk sprouted in the small box. No water, no light, no nutrition. A squashed, bent-over stalk.
My Secret Sister left an anonymous gift for me a couple weeks before the December holiday. Since I love the anticipation of opening gifts on Christmas Day almost as much as actually opening gifts on Christmas Day, I set it under our tree for a couple weeks.
And then opened the gift to the damage I had inadvertently done.
I re-hydrated the soil tab, planted the bulb with its sideways-growing stem, and placed it in a sunny window, hoping it would straighten up and grow toward the light.
As the stalk turned brown and its edges shriveled, I plucked it all the way back to the bulb.
Not having ever been the proud owner of an Amaryllis, I wasn’t sure if there would be another chance for a bloom. But I kept watering and rotating it on the sunny window ledge even as snow lay on the lawn and covered the fire pit and left a soft blanket on the Adirondack chairs.
In a week or two, a new shoot emerged. And it took off like Jack’s Beanstalk.
And now, it measures 21 inches tall as the burnt red bloom is just beginning to show off her promise of beauty.
The Amaryllis reminds me of this verse from Paul’s second letter to the new believers in ancient Corinth:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV
The old stalk had passed away. It was through. New growth was taking the place of the deadness.
But consider looking at it from a slightly different angle. I think I cherish the Amaryllis more than if it hadn’t needed my nurturing.
I helped cultivate it toward flowering, not knowing what I was doing, not knowing if it would ever bloom again. I made an investment in its life.
Do you suppose that’s what builds bonds between people: The investment of care? The giving and receiving of nurturing and understanding and encouragement?
This thought from Bob Goff in his book Everybody, Always:
People don’t grow where they’re planted; they grow where they’re loved.
Is there someone who could use your love demonstrated in an act of kindness, or a met need, or a listening ear and words of encouragement over coffee or tea sometime this week? Or next?