Dahlias and Hailstorms

Sometimes I write about things and tuck them away for a while. Sometimes I need them to just be for me and for God – my own private act of worship. Then, unexpectedly, I will stumble upon them again and find that they warm and encourage my heart. Worship is that way – carrying value far into forever whether it’s forgotten by our feeble human minds or not. I hope these words shower a little burst of hope over your hearts today.
Love y’all like crazy.
The storm rolled in fast. The sky fell dark and the rain started to fall. Adele’s sultry voice filled up my kitchen while I unloaded the dishwasher, my mind full up and empty all at the same time. There was so much to be thinking about that my thought-making machine had all but stopped functioning. Overload. All of it – my heart, my mind, my spirit – too full, too empty. Which is it?
And suddenly the banging started – at first just one at a time, and then faster and faster until the whole of our house roared with the sound of hail hitting the roof and the sky lights. I watched from my kitchen window as the storm intensified and all of my beautiful flowers, my dahlias that were on the verge of blooming, my hydrangea that has fought hard to come back from multiple unfortunate events, the tomatoes Josh planted – all of them stripped down to the stems by the icy marbles being shot from the sky with machine gun force. 
My oldest, my tender heart, ran into the kitchen to explain that all of our flowers were being ruined. I turned around and said, “I know, honey. It’s a bummer.” Her little face fell, and her little eyes welled up, “But they were doing so good after that last hail storm! Daddy’s tomato plant had so many tomatoes starting to show!” And then she launched into a full on cry. 
To be honest, I really just wanted to join her. I wanted to sit down on the floor and cry over our lovely, hard fought for flowers and tomatoes. Those dahlias that I was so excited to watch bloom now look broken, bare and dead. They look just like my heart feels. But God in his sweetness reminded me – “They’ll be back again next spring. They grow back.” I know it’s true, but it’s so hard to remember that in the moment of loss. It’s hard to remember how to feel the loss and hold the hope, to settle in for another year of waiting before those giant purple and red blooms appear, to acknowledge that I might never actually get to see them – the bulbs I planted and tended and waited on – in one fell swoop, the ice took away my opportunity to enjoy them, but not necessarily the opportunity for them to thrive.

Sometimes we do the work. We pour ourselves heart and soul into a thing. We buy all the way in, and it just doesn’t end up being a thing we get to watch bloom. Sometimes we do the dirty work and then a storm rolls in and sweeps away our opportunity to see the thing thrive – and we ache over that loss. That’s okay, I think, the ache – but only if it’s connected to hope and trust. Trust is the thing that allows us to walk away in peace – without ever seeing the bloom. 

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