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I long to see my mother again. I don’t know why some days are like that - when you just ache to have one more conversation with a loved one or friend who has left this earthly life. One more of her hugs would be great, too.

My family would probably disagree, but I have discovered patience through this past year. For me, at least, it has really been a transformation. When I finally realized there was not a thing in this world I could do to change any of this or help those I love wade through it all, somehow it brought me a sense of peace.

I know this about me - I try to control things. It comes from a sense of fear, but knowing the reasoning or origin doesn’t make it better for me or those around me.

I remember one of the first conversations I had with my pastor when all of this started. He said, “We will get through this. We will.” I ranted and cried and couldn’t see that happening. Some of my friends have reminded me that “at least you have this or that and you don’t have serious problems.” This is so very true and again, I am extremely grateful. But, if I have learned one thing through the pandemic of 2020 (other than a newfound sense of patience) it is that NO ONE is coming out of this thing unscathed. NO ONE. I have tried not to judge someone for their ability or lack of ability to get through something most in our lifetime have never experienced.

A dear friend gave me an amaryllis for my birthday in the fall. For some reason I didn’t open the box and “start” the growing process until December. I figured it could be a Christmas surprise to enjoy during the holidays. I followed all of the directions precisely, and we waited. And waited. And waited. Then, for a very long time there was just a short leaf appearing above the soil, along with a tiny stem. You had to stand right over the container to even catch a glimpse. We waited and I was convinced I had a dud, or that I had ruined it by not getting it started right away. Then came more leaves and a taller stem, it grew larger and brighter each day. It was doing what it needed to do in its own time regardless of what I said or worried about or tried to control. I gave it water occasionally; and since I spend a great deal of time working at my kitchen table each day, I was able to observe this magnificent creation and take in all of the stages of growth. One step, one leaf at a time.

Soon, this stem became what I feel is more adequately described as a stalk. It grew straight as an arrow reaching for the ceiling (or trying to find the sky). We were beginning to think this was going to be our Jack and the Beanstalk story - a fun fantasy. Or better yet, a Clark Griswold story requiring a hole cut in the roof so that it could reach the highest heights.

Reaching a height of over two feet, this amazing process of growing taller each day came to an end. Then all of the plant’s energy concentrated on producing five huge, bright red blooms. Each opening at a different time, perfectly spaced at the top of this stalk. If you’ve been fortunate to watch the growth of an amaryllis, you know that each bloom faces a different direction, all from this one strong stalk - so there is never an angle or a placement where you are unable to see one of the blossoms in all of its glory.

After what seemed like such a long time of waiting and a lot of hard work on the part of this amaryllis, these blooms only stuck around for a short while. It had accomplished what it was created for and it did it magnificently, without any help from me or anyone else. We were able to just enjoy and take in the wonder of watching the life of one of God’s creations form and unfold before us, from a small bulb to the curling and withering of those magnificent red blooms.

This probably sounds a little over dramatic considering plants and flowers die every day, and new life begins. It’s just the way it works. But this one was different somehow. It was such a reminder to me of how brief life can be. I think that God looks at the lives of his children this way...with patience as we grow and change; with joy and amazement at how beautiful our small space in this world can become for others to appreciate and enjoy.

I think this is the first time I have ever shed a tear over a plant. But lots of things are different now, aren’t they? And with patience and love, yes, we will get through this.

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