Every once in a while in the Southern Appalachians, we have just enough winter to create the perfect spring. This year is the perfect spring. I went for a walk this morning and cherry trees were simply loaded with blossoms. My Bradford Flowering Pear, that I planted as a seedling eight years ago, is simply bursting with huge, white blooms. It towers nearly to the roof of our house, and we have two levels. It's BEAUTIFUL!
Last year we had drought, and it hurt to see our newly planted Magnolias choking and dying, but this morning, there they were: rejuvenated and bursting with the promise of purple pink blooms. My Redbud is towering, which is unusual for a Redbud, and it is loaded with tiny, pea-like buds that will soon flush with perfect pink blooms. Even some of my tiniest Redbuds have a bloom or two. But the biggest surprise lays at the back of our property. Planted as a seedling, also eight years ago, is the thorn tree. Supposed to be a Washington Hawthorn, it is not, and it is loaded with four-inch long thorns, that my husband says are a "b#tch" to mow around.
This thorny, unlovely tree has survived explosion after explosion from the installation of our sewer line. It has survived years of drought, and years of the worst insect inundations, that have had me running for my Bible just to figure out when the "chewing locusts" were going to arrive. But I have grown to love that tree, even when we discovered that it's first blooms would not appear for twelve years. As I said to my husband, only half kidding, "I would have been sixty-five."
Standing at the top of the slope with my "weenie dog," I looked down at that thorny tree, and what did I see? A bloom. When Happy and I finally reached the bottom (you never rush a weenie dog, when he is reading the grass), there were TWO blooms. My heart filled up with wonder! Two blooms. Two little bouquets, sent by God above, four years early. Just for me.
I can't explain to you why this little treasure filled my heart with so much wonder, when there is so much more this spring, but the blooming of the thorn tree has won the prize in my heart; and I think I know why.
Aren't our lives a lot like this thorn tree? Sometimes quite unlovely, prickly with thorns, and then, when we least expect it, in one wonderful springtime in our lives, we bloom. We show them all! And most of all, we show ourselves.
I am in the autumn of my life. God has brought me through illness after illness, and like that unlovely tree, sometimes it feels as though my way is filled with thorns. But God never gives up on me. There will be a new medicine. I'll have to try harder to lose that extra eighteen pounds, but in my husband's eyes and in the eyes of my children, and best of all, in the eyes of God, I bloom. So today, my heart is filled with blooms and wonder.