Fireweed is a very attractive flowering plant that tends to love disturbed places. It is the first plant to bloom after a fire destroys the area. It’s bloom a vibrant beautiful magenta to purple color. Like those of many weedy plants, its seeds can lie dormant for many years, awaiting the warmth necessary for germination.
So when the days are dark. When life comes in and cripples your heart with fear. When your breath feels like it will not come out. When your chest caves in and your heart feels like it implodes…..remember the fireweed. Beauty grows in the dark places. The burnt places. The empty warm dry places. Life is tough, it is hard, it has twist and turns and loss that can cripple you emotionally, mentally, and even physically. But never ever forget……….
Life is the most amazing journey.
It is a journey that makes you strong. It is a delicate thing to be strong, but not tough. To allow yourself to be lead and to not lead. Tough wants to be in control. Tough builds walls. Strong feels the pain. Strong leans. Strong is ok being lead when they can not see. Strong lets their hearts break and be reborn……like a fireweed….in a beautiful bloom. Be a strong fiercely beautiful growing thing. You have every right.
I left my house last Wednesday and drove to New Orleans making my way to Tulane Hospital. I stayed with my mom until Friday to give my dad a much need break to go and take care of some business. I helped the nurses put my mom on the bedpan, I turned her, I fed her, I gave her water, and help in any way I could. I knew in order to save her life the Dr’s had to cut her and remove the infection that was close to the bones in her legs. I thought it was just one long incision on each leg. I was wrong. The sheer truth of exactly what she had to endure was there in vivid color. The scars will fade. The pain will end. She will walk again. She will laugh and cut up. She will live, after 52 days we know for sure.
Fireweed. She will grow even more beautiful in the midst of the ashes of this battle. We all will.
I have been open to a degree about this battle but the truth is I doubted. My own strength, my hope, my faith. Not my God, just my ability to hold to him in the middle of this. I prayed, most days it was normal prayers……..but then there were those days. The days when I went to my room, curled up in my recliner and cried, sobbed, and my heart cried out in tears what my words could not even say to Jesus. I have had moments of feeling completely alone, I tell my mom everything, except I couldn’t call her. I have had moments of crystal clear clarity of knowing how very much not alone I am. Even if I am the only one in the room.
I went through a period several years ago where I just was silent. I didn’t talk to God. I had grown up, matured, lost some of that child like faith I had. Suddenly the way I had just always talked to God, simple, direct, about everything, well it seemed childish. Ridiculous. Not “correct.” So I walked along trying to find this new me, this new mature personal relationship with God. Until one night after Church a very shy and refrained lady came up to me and said” I think I have a message for you..but honestly it’s weird. I guess I’ll just tell you and you will understand it.” I said, “Please tell me what it is, don’t be scared.”
“God said he misses his friend.”
Nothing she could have said to me would have ever meant more. I knew in my heart what it meant, no questions, nor reservation. I still have moments when I slip back into the idea that prayers should be somehow official, but something always reminds me that He hears us even when we can not speak. Even in the dark, cold, dry, empty, places of life. He hears our voices, even in the silence, and he wants to hear more. I love wild, I love brave, I love freely. Some people don’t like me or think I am fake because of how I am. It seems not normal, but the truth is, this heart is held together by his unchanging hands. It has been broken, it has been repaired, it has been guided, it has been challenged, and it has survived.
Strip it all away and we are all just broken people, walking down paths in life, hoping to not end up alone and scared. The first thing the darkness in life steals from you is joy, then peace, then trust, then hope. Always remember that in the middle of this battle……..there is fireweed. And it will always grow in the difficult places and in those places it will shine. Just hold. Just stand. Just have a little bravery. The sun will shine again, even when you can not see its rays, you will feel it’s warmth. Stand in it and grow, grow wild, grow beautiful, but grow with all the broken beauty within you and never apologize for being deep, true, joyful, loving, and brave.
And if all else fails……..be a wild rose and grow among the thorns.