But Then It Blooms
Have I ever mentioned I spent the summer working on a flower farm?
Whenever people find out where I worked, they love to talk about how much fun that must have been, playing with flowers all day. Now, don't get me wrong it really was a lotttttt of fun and I really did get to play with flowers, it also was a lot of hard work.
I worked in what seemed to be simultaneously the most beautiful and most disgusting job I've ever had. I had cuts, bites, and sunburns from days spent in the garden. My shoes smelled like a wet dog, my boots are still covered in mud, and I had a pile of tshirts that were forced into retirement at the end of the season. I pulled weeds, dead headed old blooms off stems, moved things, dug things up, and hauled compost all in the middle of the hot and sticky Virginia summer.
In the midst of it I realized something, it is hard work to help something bloom.
But then it blooms.
The hot afternoons were such a contrast to the quiet mornings. I would wake up before the sun, and be in the field just as it started to rise. The mist from the morning dew looked like thick and stagnant fog when the sunlight hit it right. There was methodical rhythm as I cut, striped, and bunched stems. Slow mornings made me forget the sweat of the afternoon, instead I just got to enjoy the beauty of the bloom.
One of my favorite things about flowers is the metaphorical meanings they give us about life. Bloom where you're planted, right? I'm realizing though, that idea is communicated with more simplicity than it should. When I think back to my experience at the farm, getting the best blooms took a staff of people. We weeded and dead headed, getting the bad stuff away to allow them to become the best version of what they were created to be.
While I navigate the whole post-graduation season of life, I am no where close to blooming where I'm planted. I don't even know if I've been planted yet. What I'm becoming more and more aware of is that whenever I have bloomed, there was probably a community of people dead heading and weeding me to become that (told ya flowers were metaphorical for life). I think the biggest lie that any of us can believe is that we can become anything by ourselves. Anything I've ever done well has been nurtured and supported by a community of people around me. They are the people who choose to stick by me during seasons of growth to make sure at the end I am the best version of what I'm growing into.
The best part of this? At the end, they don't care. They'll prune, weed, and theoretically spend hours in the Virginia summer heat helping you become who you're supposed to become, but it's all forgotten when you finally bloom. The early morning appears, the dew rises, and they step into the rhythm of watching you bloom into something beautiful.
Friends like that free you to be you, allowing growth to happen. It means that dreaming is encouraged, failures are ok, and when you have a bad day, they know it's just a bad day.
I'm gonna go hug, text, and send cards to everyone who has been that kind of friend in my life, while contemplating the large conviction to become better at being that kind of friend to others.
Do you have those friends in your life?