As I walked past our porch this morning, I noticed my mom’s hanging flower basket because it was no longer hanging but sitting by my feet. The flowers have seen better days and they’re dead now, but there’s a good reason for that. A few weeks ago we discovered there was a bird’s nest hidden down in the safety of the basket, beneath the flower petals. We watched as the days went by and the little eggs turned into little mouths, fed by the mama bird, and then, one day, the little birds were gone. We couldn’t believe it, because just like that, it had probably only been a week and they had already left the nest. We had to let the flowers die so that the birds could live; we couldn’t water them while there were little babies growing inside their safe nest in the basket. I thought today about the significance of that. Even though one life was no longer thriving, there were multiple other ones inside of it that you could not see if you just walked by. The only way you could see what was truly happening was if you got on a ladder and looked in.
And I think it speaks to the fact that there are such different seasons of life that we all go through, humans, animals, plants, every creature God created. The baby birds are gone now and they’ve started their new lives. Those flowers aren’t hanging there anymore, and that spot on the porch is a little quieter and less exciting. Time changes things, and we should take time to notice the beauty in all the changing seasons around us, even if we are stuck or not in a new or exciting part of life. Sometimes it’s good to take the backseat with the big window view for a change and give up the steering wheel.
The other thing I thought about is that if a stranger had walked up to our front door and saw the sad, withered flowers, they may have thought, “Wow, they really need to water those flowers, they’re not pretty at all.” And they’d have made a correct assumption about the parched plant. But what they wouldn’t know is that on the inside of that sad flower basket, something else had been growing…new life had just been born. Something brand new was happening and thriving. So easily, I could’ve been that person who saw somebody else’s mess on the outside and forgot to be mindful about what’s going on inside. I could have walked on by, made a snap judgment, and forgotten to remind them that new life is going to be born in those dark places through God’s timing and grace. We can be so quick to see what’s on the outside that we forget that there is so much more happening on the inside that we can’t even see. It wasn’t until we pulled the step-stool out of the garage, carried it over to the flower basket, climbed up and peered over — it wasn’t until we made an effort — that we could see the beautiful miracle that was happening inside of that basket.
So, sometimes life is a hanging basket full of dried up flowers left on the porch, ready to be thrown out. But wait. Remember that what can be growing on the inside of that basket is what is important, and it is more than important than pretty. Inside a person you’re praying for, a storm you’re walking through, a situation that seems irredeemable and ugly, there is still hope. And you might have to make an effort to look for the miracle, and it may take a bit of time before you see anything, but I promise, new life is there. Pick off the dried petals because you just may find unhatched potential hiding where you’d least expect it.