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This article is an opinion piece (op-ed) that represents the opinion and analysis of the writer. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Gettysburg Connection or its supporters.

In a bulb there is a flower

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There is something about watching an amaryllis bulb grow and unfold during these dark winter days that speaks to me of hope and beauty.  I admit that I am easily discouraged with all the negative energy polluting our emotional and social air waves and environment, that our self limiting fears and suspicions are far more deadly than any Covid19 virus.  Treasured behaviors and beliefs in a shared dream, concern for our common good that had once inspired us to work together in shared goals seem to have be buried under mountains of misunderstanding and fear.  Sitting here in our cozy home, somewhat isolated by age and surging Covid19 cases, I am especially grateful for my pots of amaryllis bulbs which  remind me that hope and love have not really disappeared, but gone underground where they lie dormant, awaiting the  nutrient rich water of forgiveness and the sunlight of forgiveness to help them push new growth and eventually help them bloom.

While it is tempting to lament these difficult times, to give in to fears of victimhood and helplessness, I am looking to my pots of amaryllis bulbs to remind me that God is a God of transformation. Things, like my bulbs may look absolutely lifeless right now, but I am trusting that my gifts of water and exposure to sunlight are not futile…even after weeks in which there’s  no signs of life.  Yet, there is one pot that I brought in many weeks ago in which the once lifeless appearing bulb is sending out five leaves and the tiny tip of a bud.

I dare not give up hope in myself and others.  I dare not give up on love and kindness as forces for positive change.  I dare not surrender to fear. I must cling to faith, for to have faith is to stake everything I hope for and believe in to become real someday.  I must hold fast to God’s promise that love is stronger than hate.  

As I write I am reminded of a definition of forgiveness I heard months ago on a Krista Tippett program.  “Forgiveness is letting go of the self defeating messages we send ourselves, “ the speaker said. “ while love is taking off the masks we fear we cannot live without but find we cannot live within.”

Watching that emerging amaryllis bud lean into the sun, I am grateful for all the signs of hope that daily surround me.  Gratefully, I become aware of my need to forgive myself and others for all the mistakes we have made by clothing those we do not know or understand in the ugly masks of hate and mistrust.  Surrendering my fear to my Higher Power, I cling to the promise that a Power  greater than our human deviousness is in control and there is nothing we can do that is beyond God’s redemption and transformation.  Basking in the promise of my amaryllis bulbs I commit myself to live this day in a spirit of hope and expectation.  

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