The Author

Late Bloomers

I planted some Hostas in a flower bed recently. They had begun life with me as a sack of three bulbs that cried out to me from a display case in a home improvement store. Wandering through the store on a Saturday morning, I had already rejected buying one plant in a pot for about six bucks when I saw that I could buy three potential plants for the same price. Running the risk of my green thumb turning black, I took them home.

Rummaging around in the garage, I found three plastic pots and some year-old potting soil that our son had used in his great pepper-growing experiment of last summer. Thinking that, at the very least, it would add a little spice to their lives, I followed the instructions on the bag for planting, stuck them in the soil, added water, and stood back to watch them grow. Days passed, then a week, finally after almost two, I began to see some green pushing itself up through the dirt. Like a proud papa, I encouraged the two pots that were showing growth while reprimanding the one that showed nothing at all.

While the first two pots were making me proud, the third was running the risk of judgment. As the others made progress every day, that one showed nothing that would redeem it from being tossed out underfoot until, one day, I noticed the slightest hint of a leaf beginning to struggle to the top. Excitedly, I dug around in the dirt, gave it some breathing room, and waited for a growth spurt. The most it was willing to put on was a couple more small leaves.

I waited as long as I could to move them from the pots to the ground. Finally, fearful that the season was getting away from me, all three went into the ground. The first two continued to prosper while the third languished. While I had applied the same amount of effort to each one, one was obviously a dawdler. Until today.

Before coming to the church today, I walked out to check on the plants. The first two continue in their merry way. But the third, the one that I was ready to give up on, has seemingly changed overnight. What was a straggler has become a star, thriving, producing leaves, shining in a way that the others simply do not.

All along, something was going on with that plant that I could not see; change was occurring underneath the surface in a way that was preparing it to become beautiful. I have to admit a little guilt. Making assumptions, jumping to conclusions, I was ready to quit because I couldn’t see what was going on beneath the surface. Sometimes I do that with myself. Sometimes I do that with other people. Sometimes you do, too. I’m just glad God doesn’t. Aren’t you?