Last week, I bought myself a bouquet of peonies. I keep flowers in the house most days because they make me smile. This time however, after paying for and bagging my groceries, I walked past the flower department on my way to the exit. I hadn’t planned to stop, I was in a hurry and the cart was filled to the top with all of the necessary goods. Things like toilet cleaner and lettuce. I walked past black buckets of roses and babies breath and started to pick up my pace, stopping mid-stride when I spotted the heavy, tight buds of the peonies. They’re my favorite flower. I picked one bouquet out of the bucket, looked at the price tag, and put it back. Then I picked it up again. Then I put it back.

It was ridiculous, both the price and the puny number of buds. I spied a larger bouquet, multi-colored, with a bright flash of pink petals. I hesitated to look at the price tag, but I did and even though it was silly to pay the equivalent of twenty dollars for a bunch of peonies, I bought them anyway.

I set them on the table in a white pitcher, and all week long I watched them open from tight fists to open petaled palms. It was like watching joy unfurl. There is so much hope bound up in the bud, so much potential for beauty. For some time now, I’ve felt God whispering the word ‘Bloom’ to me. I hear it echoing in my spirit, a call to the hope and potential He placed in me. I felt it there for years, growing from seed to sprout to bud, and I wondered if the blooming would ever happen. I thought maybe I’d die before I had the chance to find out what I’m made of, before I had the chance to blossom. That might sound seven shades of crazy and melodramatic, but I was the bud for so long I thought I might wither on the stem.

This year, I feel the beginnings of the bloom. I have wrestled privately, and occasionally here on this blog, with my desire to write. As I’ve grown, so has my love for stringing words. I’ve hesitated to call myself a writer out of fear it isn’t true. But the truth is, I write, and when I do I feel the petals shifting, readying themselves. A few months ago, with the word ‘Bloom’ breathing heavy down my neck, I began to accept that it’s possible, I might just be a little bit of a writer. And so I started writing some things, not here, but in a file in Microsoft Word. And this one precious file has grown into something more than I thought it would, and so I’m making some shape and some sense out of it, and I’m wrapping it all up in something called a book proposal. I don’t know if you can fully appreciate the ridiculousness of this. I can, but I continue working on it anyway, on both the writing and the blooming. Because I realize now, I can’t have one without the other.

How about you? Are you budding, blooming, or somewhere in between? Please share! I need the encouragement.