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The Parable of the Daffodils Part 1

The unseasonably hot weather here in Portland has left the winter weariness seem a distant memory. But it is not really that many months ago that I was walking in my neighborhood with my dog, lamenting the cold and the wetness, and wondering when the grey skies and rain would yield to sunshine. Daily I looked for the first signs of spring. And, eventually, there they came, the tiny shoots of the daffodils pushing their way through the unwelcoming soil. What prompts the ugly brown bulbs buried long ago and held in the frozen ground to release those little green shoots? Is it Spirit who awakens them?

Daily I watched them grow. And then our weather unexpectedly sent snow, then ice, rain and freezing temperatures. The growth appeared to slow. Was it my imagination or were the leaves smaller than usual? But, small or not, the buds began to appear amongst the tiny leaves. It might have been cold; their growth might be stunted, but still, they were following their God-given task—to produce the beautiful brilliant yellow flowers that will reassure us that winter is past.

More snow fell. The daffodils continued their journey to fulfillment, seemingly unfazed by the challenges daily presented to them. The beauty they offer to the world was not minimized by their smaller size. Their color shone as brightly as ever; their reassuring presence brought me hope that spring would come, the rain would stop, and the sun shine!

I wonder if our lives sometimes are like that. Recently I sensed God’s invitation to awaken a long-hidden gift, my desire to write. Tentatively, I began. I took a risk and shared my writing with a friend. Ouch! The first snow fell. I pulled back, tempted to give up. I risked again and shared with another friend. More snow! I walked my neighborhood, trying to process what was happening. Was I not hearing God? My little daffodil buds stood as a silent witness to me. Yes, they may be smaller than usual, but they are still there, even when it is hard to see the growth, lifting their heads to the sun they know will come. So, I press on. Here I am! Seeking to learn from the setbacks, and yet knowing God’s calling.

I wonder if something like this is happening with you. Is there a longing deep within that you have held close, for fear of being hurt by other people’s opinions? Is there an invitation from God to risk poking your head up and trusting the process that will follow? Life has its seasons. God has His timing for us.

In my journey, I have found safety in sharing my struggles with my trusted spiritual director. She has provided a safe place for me to share—the good, the bad, the ugly--my fears, my doubts, my longings. She listens. We listen together for the invitation God is offering to me. With her, I gain the courage to press on into all He has for me.

Is it time to open to spring and to God’s invitation for you? If you need a safe place to share your thoughts and feelings, I encourage you to find a spiritual director. He/she will offer a sacred space where, as you sit together in God’s presence, confusion may clarify; questions may not be answered but may be validated; you may find things long buried coming to the surface. God is present, in His kindness and love, longing to set you free to be all He has always had in mind for you.

-Wendy Dunn

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