(This was posted on my personal blog last year about this time, but I’m surprised at how relevant it still is for me)
These attention seekers are from my front yard. This year they have come in waves. The yellows faded into the background as the reds exploded in front of them, and the hybrid of the two came up last, much scarcer than the rest – which made me sad; they’re my favorite. Each day that I pull out of the driveway, I smile to myself as I catch their vibrant colors in my view. Sometimes they are closed to the chill of morning, with their lips pursed as if to slurp the dew that clings to them. By the afternoons they are usually split wide open, welcoming the sun as they turn themselves outward, showing all that lies inside them.
This is how I feel lately. At times closed off from the elements of a harsh reality, and at others opened to new possibilities and opportunities for growth. It’s an exhausting push and pull of protecting myself from damage in one moment, and showing my vulnerability in the next. But I do it because that is how I know I can survive the inner turmoil that is a conflicted life. If I remained tightly sealed, I wouldn’t be receptive to what helps me to grow. If I left myself open, the bitter winds of judgment and assumption would rip me apart.
It’s a delicate and dangerous balancing act that I’m learning to live, but I suppose it’s worth it right now in order to show my true colors. I feel vibrant inside, and I want others to see the life that I hold within me. I want to let it out so that I, too, can see its value and beauty. And I’m grateful when others choose to risk the harsh and changing climates to let me see their beauty too, even when I know the blooming may last only a short while.
It makes me sad to know that my tulips will soon be nothing but petal-less stems, but I’m grateful that they last as long as they do. And I try to remember that they will be back next spring.