Gray skies. Still, stiff air. Walking for miles with no end in sight.
If you had to describe waiting in your own life, how would it look?
Hurried and determined by nature, to me waiting feels like a long walk with no clear direction. I step out the front door on a dreary day and go, uncertain of where I’m going or when I’ll arrive.
I know the walk is good for me—strengthening muscles and teaching me to trust. But I struggle to enjoy the journey. And I hesitate to trust the One guiding me throughout the twists and turns.
I run ahead. I take a break. I struggle to keep a steady pace. I grumble—a lot. And between all my stresses and distractions, I miss the beauty right in front of me.
Today I saw a Fidelity commercial that summed it up perfectly. A little girl goes running down the sidewalk in the rain. She stops to took at a lone flower growing in a crack.
Despite the flurry of people hurrying past her, she crouches down to look at the bright pink beauty in her otherwise gray day. A little bit later, she and her dad return to the flower, covering it with a clear plastic cup.
When the sun comes out later, she’s delighted to discover her flower has survive the rain and heavy traffic on the sideway. Her dad gently pulls it out of the ground, and together they plant it in a safe spot near a park bench.
In the next frame, the girl is all grown up. Her dad’s hair has grayed. Together they go back to their favorite park bench. Beautiful pink flowers, growing on large lush bushes, embrace the back of the bench. Her dad pulls off just one and hands it to her with a smile.
Am I like the hundreds of other people on that sidewalk—eager to get out of the rain and onto my destination? Or am I like that little girl—taking the time to see beauty in an otherwise gloomy day?
Most of the time I’m like the masses, hurrying on to my next task or appointment. I seldom take the time to stop and gaze. And I miss the beauty.
When seasons of life take longer than we expected, when we feel stuck in winter and long for spring, it’s easy to only see the cold wet raindrops and dark skies. But when we focus only on the sorrow, and fail to see the joy intermingled, we miss a precious gift.
The scholar Frederick Buckner said, “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”
Far too often I focus on one to the exclusion of the other. I struggle to open my hands to the beautiful and terrible—allowing myself to feel and embrace both.
But what if the small, beautiful thing in our otherwise difficult season is like that small pink flower? What if God is calling us to bend down, gaze deeply, and gentle pluck it up? What if we’re supposed to cultivate the one thing that brings us joy—knowing that one day it may grow up into a vibrant bush filled with budding flowers?
Today your life may be filled with beautiful things. Or today you may feel overwhelmed by terrible loss. Maybe your life is a mixture of the two.
Embrace it all. Grieve the sorrow. Celebrate the beauty. And take another step.
But don’t be afraid. Because everything that happens to us passes through God’s strong and gentle hands.
As much as waiting feels like a long walk going nowhere on a wet and dreary day, we know that simply isn’t true. We’re following an invisible God with a grander plan than we can imagine.
So keep walking, even when the skies are gray. And when you see a flower, stop, pull it up, and take it with you. It might just grow into more than you ever dreamed.