Little acts of kindness which we render to each other in everyday life
are like flowers by the wayside to the traveler:
they serve to gladden the heart
and relieve the tedium of life’s journey.
– Eunice Bathrick
I feel like that tulip bulb – resting in the dark, waiting for the day when it’s time to break free.
But, some days, I also feel like the tulips in the flower bed just outside our front door this year. They burst through the moist soil and loose mulch, full of promises of early spring color…only to be disappointments, every last one of them. Duds.
They were planted with care. They were given moisture and what I thought was enough sun. They were loved and given lots of gazing attention.
And they were still disappointing duds. Lots of lessons in that picture…here’s the lesson for me today.
Maybe it is this season of no words that is producing no flower, no bloom. Reading in Luke today, I was reminded that fruit doesn’t determine the tree, but the tree determines the fruit. My daily actions don’t determine my heart’s condition or my life’s direction, but my heart and life condition determines my daily actions.
“A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit, nor does a bad tree produce good fruit. Each tree is known by its own fruit. People don’t gather figs from thorny plants, nor do they pick grapes from prickly bushes. A good person produces good from the good treasury of the inner self, while an evil person produces evil from the evil treasury of the inner self. The inner self overflows with words that are spoken.” – Luke 6:43-45
Funny thing. Jesus hit it home when he said “the inner self [heart] overflows with words that are spoken.” So maybe, just maybe, right now as I am resting in the dirt, surrounded with protection from that which could harm me, as a tulip bulb lies dormant and protected from the squirrels and other creatures that seek to uncover it, maybe I should be grateful that my heart is protected, that deep down in the dormancy, I am still grateful and counting every. last. thing.
I need to remind myself that the words I speak are never meaningless. I’ve heard this a few times over the last week when someone on the news shared, “I didn’t mean to say that.” “I misspoke.” My deeds, my thoughts, my attitudes are part of my daily actions – my fruit – but the words I speak and write often reveal my fruit, my character, as well.
And, I need to remember that the words I leave unspoken also convey a message…loud and clear.
So, as I wait in the quiet, I will be grateful for the protection of silence and for the opportunities that are every day to offer a little kindness to a traveler needing a little peek of flower in order to relieve the tedium of a mundane journey. I can choose to be a disappointment, or I can choose to poke through and begin to bloom, right where I am.