BLESSINGS IN BLOOM (BY GUEST CHARLOTTE BRAMMER)
Beginning in May, I eagerly open my bedroom blinds, seeking that first daylily bloom. Soon the sweet yellow of the Stella D’Ora appears. Its boldness and perfect form interrupt the bed of greenery. The sturdy yellow blossoms dance in the breeze and the sunshine, welcoming bees and other pollinators—but they must hurry because this little bloom will wilt when the sun sets. As the name daylily implies, however, new blooms will erupt with the sunrise.
By late May and throughout June the yellow Stellas are joined by other daylilies: little Strawberry Candys, elegant Persian Markets, and tall Red Ribbons. Some, like Miss Tinkerbell, have ruffled petals, while others are water-marked, presenting an ombre effect. The throats may be yellow, peach, or bright green. Some blooms, like the yellow or red Stellas, unassumingly add color to the garden, but others, such as the Golden Prize, stun any passerby with their 7-8-inch blooms. Happy Returns, Stellas, and Little Grapettes grace the garden through September. My view from the window pales in comparison when I wander out to the garden to scrutinize each perfect bloom. Yet, no matter how small, how large, or how perfect, at day’s end they fade away.
To promote more colorful and beautiful blooms, I follow the advice of daylily cultivators by plucking the flowers each evening. Gently breaking each one from its stalk, taking care to leave the buds undisturbed, I inspect each flower, appreciating its beauty, color, form, and fragrance one last time. Even in the collection bucket, plucked from their life source, the lilies remain beautiful for just a little while longer. This bittersweet picking prepares the garden for tomorrow’s renewal.
Daylilies remind me of the beauty and frailty of life and of God’s incredible kindness as they faithfully bloom throughout their season. Even through the cold of winter, some daylilies maintain a green presence in the garden. All of them hold promise for the next season. In Luke 12: 27-28 (ESV), Jesus tells us to
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!
God’s blessings are new each morning just as the blooms of the daylilies. Whether I see them, appreciate them, or am clueless about their presence, His blessings and the promise of them surround me. I need not worry; I need not be anxious.
My summer ritual of anticipating the daylily blooms and then quietly snapping them at the end of the day offers a brief reprieve from the busyness of life. I don’t want to just stop to smell the flowers: I want to relish in them. My soul is rejuvenated as I consider God’s beautiful and abundant blessings, even those that seem temporary. My heart is restored by the simplicity and splendor of each flower, and I am reminded that God’s love for me is simple yet spectacular.
Whether I am out of town or the garden is deluged by the ubiquitous thunderstorm, some days I am prevented from snapping the blooms. The spent lilies, wrinkled and weak, droop from the stems, sometimes covering fresh blooms. I wonder – are my missed blessings now obscuring new ones? How do I ensure that I recognize as many blessings as possible? Psalm 40:5 tells us that God has provided more wonders than we can possibly name and in Psalm 103:13-16 (ESV), we learn why:
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.
We can trust God the Father to care for us because He knows us, loves us, and attends to our needs. Like the daylily, we have our season, our purpose, our promise. We are encouraged by the blessings He bestows on us, and on the greatest blessing of all – our salvation.
Guest blogger and friend Charlotte Brammer is an English Professor at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. She is the author of “Communicating as Women in STEM.” Charlotte and I enjoy lunchtime chats blended with spiritual encouragement, writing ideas, and the challenges of life.