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Petunias: Part III of III

I am reading Spiritual Rhythm, by Mark Buchanan.  (Brilliant. Read it, please.)

I started reading last summer, and I plowed through the chapter of Winter.  Buchanan affirmed my dark barrenness, and I found myself in his every word.  When I finished that chapter, I turned the page and began to read his words on spring.

I felt like I was reading an auto manual.  Yes, I could read the words, but they made no sense at all.  Gobblety gook.

On August 10, 2011, I wrote in the margin:

I am trying to find spring.
Such an elusive season.
I seem to see buds peeking through, only to become hardened by another cold frost that sweeps in overnight.
I have tried to peek around the corner and into the next chapter … yet the words of fruit and flower seem empty to me.

Perhaps spring must begin on its own calendar.
Perhaps I cannot wish — or read — myself into a new season.

I put the book on the shelf.  No use in pretending.

But it recently called to me from the shelf.  Books do this.  They do, they whisper.  They ask for another chance, a reunion, a lunch date.

Once again, I opened to the chapter of Spring, but this time – nine months later – the timing was right.  Each paragraph unfolded with such clarity.  Again, Buchanan affirmed the season of my heart.

Buchanan says:

I can tell at a glance when a church or a home is joyless and without peace: the grounds and the buildings tell the story before anything else.  Neglect.  Withering.  Rankness.  Debris.  Trees dying, weeks run amok.  When there’s no song from the hills or applause from the trees, it’s a given that there’s not much singing and clapping, joy and peace, anywhere close by.

Creation follows our lead, not the other way around.  It waits for our cue.

When the ground is right and the air is right, what God does with our small efforts is breathtaking.  If you’re in spring, why not do both: plant something in the ground and plant something in the world?  Let each betoken the other.

So, if there is life in my spirit, it will manifest in my home.

I knew immediately what we needed: our petunias again.

We talked to Robb while we planted.  We pretended he could hear us, because maybe he can.

I watched those little dirty hands hard at work, and I remembered when he once talked about the day when we wouldn’t have to fit this task into their naptime, when we would have them outside planting with us.  I told him I remembered those conversations; I told him the day had come.


The natural overflow of our reignited love for God and humanity is our awakened love for creation, our enlarged capacity to see it, enjoy it, and care for it.

Everywhere, and all at once, death turns to life.

Everywhere and all at once, life –

and life to the full – returns.

Everywhere, and all at once, spring.

And with it, hope.

Yes.  Our springtime has come.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. You are an incredible woman. I’ve always thought so. I can see your springtime and it brings beautiful joy to my heart!

  2. Yea! I think many of us knew your springtime had come, but so beautiful to hear the words and see it unfold.

  3. So so good. Love to see the boys in the dirt, making things pretty.

  4. Oh, yes!

  5. Beautiful! Lately I’ve been thinking about reading a book called “Learned Optimism.” I’m going to make spring come for me, somehow. Dang it.

  6. Beautiful!

  7. Tricia…I have been following your blog since January, 2011. I have shared your story with two of my own friends who, since I’ve started reading your blog, have lost their husbands. They, too, have small children. Your blog has given me a “heads-up” as to what my friends may be dealing with. I have appreciated so much your transparency, your honesty, your sense of humour, and your willingness to share your life with strangers. As silly as it seems, I feel like I’ve come to know you and look forward to reading your updates. As I read this post, tears of thankfulness and praise to God came to my eyes. I am praying that you will know His presence and His blessing in new and fresh and over-the-top-awesome ways as you enjoy this springtime season. I just may go plant some petunias myself!

  8. Thank you for reminding us that life is seasonal as well as rhythmic. And the timing of the cycles is unique to each of us. So it is in living in God’s will and purpose. I’m thankful “spring” has arrived for you.

  9. Beautiful post. That book was on my radar from Midday Connection (Moody radio) and I think I will give it a read.

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