This Christmas I gave several friends amaryllis flower kits. These “kits” were composed of a pot, a hockey puck sized disc of compressed peat moss/soil which was wrapped in cellophane, and one large bulb. The pot and its contents were encased in a cardboard package.
I found them at the end of November and was pleased with my discovery. Most of my friends have green thumbs, or at least seem to enjoy gardens and such, so I thought they would be perfect gifts. I purchased several of them in anticipation of the gift giving season. I stashed the boxed kits in an unused, darkened, guest room.
I was eager to share the flower kits with my friends. It was finally time to prep them as gifts. I pictured being able to simply place them in gift bags, affix tags and drop them off, but there was something I had not planned on….to my amazement several of the bulbs had begun to sprout! Seriously, if I had been TRYING to grow them I’m certain this would not have happened. There in the dark neglected confines of the room, these bulbs decided they would begin to grow. No water, no light, no soil…just the will to grow.
Some of the boxes had pale green leaves pushing out of the seams, one actually had a squished flower trying to bloom in the crevice between the pot and the box…these were not the “perfect” gift I had so hoped to give. Instead of nice tidy flower kits, I now had malformed monstrosities. I decided to gift them anyway…I did not have a backup plan. I placed the kits, some normal and some not so normal looking, in gift bags with tags. I felt sort of bad giving a gift and an apology at the same time… “Here’s your gift, sorry about trying my best to kill it before you received it.” I made a mental note never to give “living” gifts again.
The other day I received a phone call from one of my amaryllis recipients. She was laughing over the phone as she described how her plant had suddenly sprung up over night. Her family awoke to an 11 inch stalk protruding from the pot. She sent me a photo. Over the next week she updated me on the status of her flower, which seemed to be made from the same stuff as “Jacks’ magic beans” because it grew to over 2ft. before finally bursting forth with beautiful trumpet shaped flowers. I never would have imagined it had that potential given such a difficult start.
I received another photo form one of the amaryllis recipients. This time the plant grew almost horizontal, but still managed to produce gorgeous red flowers. I have since had other calls with updates on the status of my friends’ flowers. It has been a lot of fun to hear how these seemingly “damaged” plants have been enjoyed.
I think I will refer to this particular Christmas gift endeavor as the “The Amaryllis Project”, from which I have learned a few lessons.
Lesson one: Like these flowers, we do not need perfect conditions to grow. What matters most is the determination to grow. Sometimes I wait for things to be a certain way before stepping out and growing my faith.
Lesson two: Just because something, or someone, does not look like it will meet our expectations, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the capacity to meet and exceed our expectations.
Lesson three: God knows His creation and He knows the hidden capacity each of us has, which He has placed in us, to achieve full bloom.
Each of those bulbs endured difficult days, yet eventually….given attention and care, they have become what God had intended them to be…tall, short, crooked, bent, pale, bright,…each beautiful in their own way.