If it can bloom so can I - By Mary Barwick

I feel like I can’t do it sometimes. Feeling as if some days I can’t go on--Seeing my husband in bed all day broken and drained from this disease that takes most of his life. Raising the kids with a fuzzy mind and a burdened heart.

As I look at the flower on our front porch growing through the concrete I know what it is saying to me. I know its message.

The disease, the fatigue and the drudgery that consume me at times are like cement. And I feel stuck. Will it ever loosen its cold deadly grip? Will I ever make it through to the other side, will there be freedom from this immense pressure--this pressure that is too much for me to bear sometimes.

And I know the difficulties I face are not nearly as enormous as those in Japan and Haiti, for example. Or the 350,000 in Sudan living with HIV and Aids. Or the 70% of children and adults in South Sudan who don’t have access to safe drinking water and who die daily from diarrhea and other water related maladies. And who, unlike us, don’t have hospitals in every town with educated doctors and life giving medicines.

Don’t get me wrong I am not belittling my circumstances. I am a firm believer that everyone has their own pain. And just because someone else's pain seems greater than mine that doesn’t make mine any less painful.

BUT what it does do for me is it puts my pain in perspective and it gives me things to be thankful for, which in turn lifts my burden and gives me a heart of gratitude.

Like, why me? Why was I born in a country where we have safe drinking water, where most Americans have more than enough to eat and where there isn’t violence and war right outside my mud hut? Why? Why am I so lucky?

And while I have no answers for any of the above, I am grateful for our finances, our friendships, our medical care and our fresh water. I am thankful to be experiencing this burden during this moment in time and this place in history.

The flower is still there and so is my epiphany. I relate to the pressure and the feeling of being stuck. But there is a more powerful message in that yellow flower growing in the concrete:

Things CAN grow. They can be beautiful when the perplexities press.

But how?  How in the world do I grow? And more than that, how in the world do I bloom? Where do I get my water? Where do I find room to breathe?

The answer: You just do.

Life has a weird way of working, of providing hope and a way where there seems to be no way. Of pushing us through and making something beautiful out of a life stuck in concrete.

But for me I have to be open to seeing it. I have to be like a little child. And know that I will grow whether the soil is rich and hearty. Or if God is silent and far away--If my “soil” is like rock.  A rock that presses in and withholds the light and the water but miraculously, somehow, allows me to grow and to bloom.

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