Flowers and Concrete

I do a lot of research in life. I have a decade of graduate school under my belt and it comes naturally to me to research deeply whenever I have a problem to solve or an issue to investigate.

I love data.

But data also betrays me. I worried about many, many layers of the home buying process and I researched an excessive amount of options. I fretted over location, zip code, house payments, and renovations. I considered the neighborhood, the commute, the square footage, and the mortgage rate. And yet, in all of my intense research, never did I consider that I would fall on the stairs, require reconstructive surgery, and be out of work for months. That was not a part of the carefully cultivated data collection.

And yet, that has been the story painfully written over the past year.

I am learning yet again that Corrie Ten Boom was right when she said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” I fear the next thing that will go wrong. The next blindsided event that will sweep me off my feet, literally or figuratively. have felt empty, weighed down, and challenged, but not abandoned. Or in the words of Second Corinthians:

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (II Corinthians 4:8-9)

But I have a choice under this pressure in how I respond. I am choosing to practice defiant joy, like a flower in the concrete. I do not know what tomorrow brings. Will more medical bills arrive? Will more rehabilitation be needed? Will another appliance break? Yes, eventually all will happen. But today I can bloom. I can be this little flower in my courtyard. It doesn’t know that pressure washing is coming or weeding day is coming. It blooms now. It is defiantly growing through concrete, defiantly joy-filled and joy-filling. It isn’t worried about the storm that may come tomorrow. It grows roots where it is. It stretches toward the sky where it is. It grows. It thrives. In the most unlikely of locations.

My life soil may not feel nourishing right now. It may not be tilled, fertilized, tended to and easy, and yet it is where I live. I can choose to wilt and remain weighed down. Or I can bloom with all my might trusting the Lord to sustain me through every storm, wind, pestilence, or darkness that may arrive.

I am a flower in the concrete of life. I will choose to bloom.

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