Shortly after I returned home from a writer’s conference on Sunday, my youngest son, age 4-3/4, came in from outside with a little gift. It was a daffodil, only it hadn’t yet opened so it was all folded onto itself. I felt a little melancholy receiving it, knowing he’d be turning five by week’s end (today) and that this could well be the last spring I’d receive a gift of flowers from his small hands.
“Oh, thanks honey!” I said. “I guess we’ll need to get some water for this.”
A few minutes later, he came back into my bedroom where I was “recovering” from the drive. He was holding a glass filled to the brim with water, which was sloshing over the edges. He had a serious look in his eyes. He set the glass down on the nightstand next to me and we placed the flower in it.
The next day, he was telling me about all the other flowers like that one in the back yard. He was excited and asked if I would come see them later. I didn’t want to discourage him from picking flowers for me, but I did want him to know that the flower he’d brought in the day before likely would open up and die before the others.
“But why?” he asked.
“Because in order to grow well, a flower needs water but it also needs dirt to live in,” I answered.
A little while later, I could feel his presence nearby but I was too distracted to notice what he was doing, how he was hovering near the flower. When I looked at it a few minutes later, I could see something was different.
“Did you do something to the flower?” I asked.
“It has dirt in it. Now it won’t die so fast.”
This kid was melting my heart left and right. His gestures of love, for me and the flower, were not getting past me. He not only wanted to give me a gift, he wanted to give me something that would last, that wouldn’t die soon.
The flower has opened up beautifully. One of its petals is suffering at this writing, not for lack of soil and too much water but because of a curious cat that won’t leave it alone. Even so, every time I pass it, I hear it whispering something to me. “Love,” it says. “I am infused with love and now you are as well.”
When the two of us finally went outside to look at the daffodils in the dirt, he was so joyful he was practically dancing on the way to the spot where they were growing. My young son’s appreciation for spring flowers has been such a beautiful sign of what is possible. New life is so captivating, even to an almost-five-year-old.
Yesterday, he drew a picture for me at the drop-off childcare where I brought him while I attended a meeting. He pointed out the green flower he’d drawn and made sure I saw that it had dirt, just like the yellow flower in our home and those outside. He wanted to make sure his pretend flower had as long a life as possible, too.
And today, I can’t help but think of that dirt and that flower and how eloquently they point to our relationship with God. Dirt isn’t always, well, dirty. We need good dirt, good soil, laid down at our base in order to flower in the way God wants us to. Without good dirt, we, too, will die an early death, spiritually if not physically.
My son’s small but poignant gesture has given me so much. It’s reminded me of the power of love, the power of new life, and the power of nurturing a rich-soil relationship with the Creator.
What are some of the things you do to enrich the soil at your base? OR, when was the last time the simple act of a child touched your heart?