My hands dug at the ground tentatively.  It had been some time since I’d been able to think beyond my next breath, and productivity felt foreign.  But there I sat, on my knees, in a flower bed in my backyard, breathing the chilly November air and thinking of spring.

J0387079It was the late autumn of 2002, and I was emerging, ever so slowly, from the darkest time of my life.  For months I had been paralyzed by depression and anxiety.  But as November arrived, and the earth began to fall asleep for the winter, something inside me began to awaken.  Medication, prayer and the love of my family had pulled me back from the brink, and I stepped out of my "bunker" blinking in the sunlight and walking very slowly.  But I was walking.  Gently forward, each day a little easier than the next, I was moving toward Hope. 

And so it was I sat in my flower bed that day, overcome by the need to get my hands in the dirt.  I had some hyacinth bulbs that had been tucked in my fridge for some time, and I knew I needed to get them in the ground before the first freeze.  I turned the bulbs over in my dirty hands–they looked like misshapen onions, with brittle flakes coming off the sides and dead-looking scraggles sticking out of the tops.  I stared at them for some time, marveling that something beautiful would shoot out of that clumpy, brown mess in just a few short months.  But with faith in my soil and my Miracle-Gro, I tucked a few bulbs into the ground. 

I sat back and patted the ground where they were buried.  They were powerful symbols to me of my own journey–something ugly and dead-ish, held in the hands of a Creator who wasn’t afraid to get His hands dirty. 

My bulbs lay still and waited for spring.  My heart waited with them. 

And spring indeed came, both to the hyacinths, and to me.  In an explosion of electric blue color, those gorgeous bulbs gave me their very best that March.  And I, further down my path of healing, was able to rejoice–in the beauty of a blue flower, in the warmth of spring, in the faithfulness of a God whose mercies are new again and again.

Those dark days are now a distant memory, and my steps are no longer slow and tentative.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how dark those times were.  But then every year spring comes, and every year that plucky hyacinth shows his face to me, reminding me of my long journey toward hope.  He appeared this weekend, and I greeted my old friend (though not for long, as he was mowed down by an unforgiving GI Joe truck). 

I laughed, and I remembered, and I gratefully turned my face to the sun. 

34 thoughts on “Hope

  1. Rose says:

    Well written. Many of us have had those dark days. We all have within us as that bulb did, the light. We must keep looking to the Son to find the light. Thank you for being brave enough to share bits and pieces from your experience with depression. More people struggle with it than would like to admit. Having others talk openly about it may help another.

  2. meredith says:

    This is a powerful post, thanks for sharing. As Rose said, many of us struggle through times like these and just hearing others talk about it can help one not feel so alone.

  3. Beth/Mom2TwoVikings says:

    Thanks, Shannon. Well done. I think back on my “brink-time” and think tha tif I didn’t already believe in God I’d HAVE to because there is NO other explanation to how I’ve made it where I am…only by His grace, provision, and protection!

  4. kris says:

    One of my favorite things about gardening is all that God can show me through it. There are many times lately that something in the garden has been the perfect example of something I was feeling. Thanks for showing us yours.

  5. momrn2 says:

    Those flowers are like your “altar”… a reminder you have set forth to remind you of what God has done for you and did for you during a very specific time! We serve an amazing God who never ceases to amaze me with His goodness and mercy to us!
    Perhaps I should find an “altar” to symbolize the end of one long journey and the beginning of another that we are soon to embark on. Something to remind me on a regular basis how truly powerful my/our God is!!
    Thanks for such a powerful and heartwarming post!

  6. Blank this Time says:

    Thank you for this, Shannon. I really needed reassurance today. Although unfortunately, my spouse is anything but supportive, and my marriage is not likely to last, the knowledge that God is there, protecting me from his angry words and actions, is a comfort.
    Thanks again.

  7. Tara says:

    Thanks for that wonderful illustration of our lives. Ugly and brittle on the outside, yet waiting for a burst of new life on the inside. I am so thankful to be held in the cradling arms of the Creator. Thank you for pointing me to Him on this morning (after a long difficult night!)

  8. Sally says:

    I still struggle with panic attacks and anxiety at times. Sometimes I think I am doing better, but then all of a sudden it comes back again. Thank youfor sharing your expereinces. It is good to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

  9. HolyMama! says:

    you need to write big full length books. these well written wonderful blog posts are just TOO SHORT for such talent!
    (i was so afraid this post was leading to what happened when i planted hyacinths. bad allergic reaction from those scales – horrific itching. so glad that wasn’t part of your story! and the blue/purple ones are definitely the best!)

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