Mar 12, 2012

Harvest of hope

Last summer, when I was about six months pregnant, when it hurt to walk and it hurt to sit, when I was constantly nauseated and ached from head to toe, I spent an afternoon bent over my flower bed, digging up tulips.  The spring of 2011 wasn't a great season for my tulips.  Not many had popped through the ground to begin with, and then fewer flowered.  Someone told me that splitting the bulbs and replanting them would help the tulips flourish in future seasons. So, after many weeks of looking at the tulips' yellowing and wilted leaves, I decided to tackle the job.

Based on the tulips that had sprouted, I knew about where most of the other bulbs were planted and, presumably, were lying dormant.  I dug up the entire flower bed.  When I found a bulb, it was usually a collection of little bulbs all smashed together.  Following instructions from a friend, I gently pulled them apart.  This effort amassed quite a pile of little bulbs.  Some looked healthier than others.

Zach and Tyler helped me replant them, one by one.  We planted over 100 bulbs in the front flower bed alone.  We carefully fertilized each plot of earth, watered the entire bed, and moved on with our summer.  After a few weeks I planted pretty flowers on top of the bulbs, but always I thought of the tulips.

All through the fall and the cold, dead winter, I waited and hoped.  The bare earth in front of my house haunted me.  I often thought of the bulbs we had planted and wondered if the tulips would grow.  Even though it was far too early to see the results of our labors, I doubted the process.  Had we done the right things?  Had we nourished the bulbs enough before the harsh winter arrived?

The answer came a couple of weeks ago when a lone tulip sprouted through the dirt.  I felt myself holding my breath as new sprouts appeared every day.  Slowly but surely, little red shoots burst through the dirt all over the flower bed.  A few more came every day.  This afternoon I counted, and there are 109 groups of tulips.  Some "groups" only have one plant so far, but many look like this--a healthy collection of tulips sprouting through the ground.

Now, with the promise of a glorious bed of tulips growing before my eyes, I am pondering the Lord's law of the harvest.  In essence, that law states that good seeds planted in fertile soil eventually yield an abundant harvest.  I love what L. Tom Perry has to say about this:

"Each spring as I look over an insignificant, small seed and place it in a well-prepared seed bed, I marvel at how much it will produce. Then my soul is filled with thanksgiving when I realize what can happen when that small seed begins to multiply itself, and I contemplate my potential as part of the greatest of all creations, man. I am one of His spirit children. If a seed can multiply thirty, sixty, or even a hundredfold, what then is my potential if I would but cast out the stones, clean out the thorns, cultivate deeply into the soil for a good seedbed, irrigate, and nourish? It is then that I realize there is no limit to my potential so long as I conform my life to the Lord’s law of the harvest."  (Source and full text here.)

I am happy to recognize many fruits blossoming in my life right now.  Many of them have come at just the right time, when I'm hungry for some hope.  I have had a long and hard winter in many ways, and I'm grateful for the promise of spring, both literal and figurative, that is jumping up all around me.

Watching the tulips grow has also reminded me of my favorite General Conference talk ever, which inspired this wonderful Mormon Message.

My favorite quote from Elder Holland's talk is this: "Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come."

Isn't spring fantastic?
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