A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending a morning at The Huntington Gardens in San Marino, California. As I strolled through the Desert Garden, admiring various aloes and cacti, I was reminded of the profoundly hopeful truth that beautiful and healing things can and do grow in those places that on the surface appear to be least capable of nurturing life.
This Advent season, I have needed to hold fast to that truth.
As I think of the young men I encounter at Camp Miller and the pressures they will face when they return to their hoods…
As I think of the children in my neighborhood who struggle to read at grade level and the negative outcomes that frequently attend low reading proficiency…
As I think of so many families who lost loved ones far too soon over the course of this year…
I wish for all of us a hope as resolute and lovely as the flowers that adorn sidewalks, deserts, and other hard places of our world.
The most exquisite flowers
in the least likely spots—
lending splashes of color,
to landscapes otherwise barren,
seemingly flimsy stems
mask the strength it must take
to push through hard earth,
on valiant quests
As I breathe in their scent—
a heady mixture
of sweetness and tenacity,
resilience and hope—
the petals of my own stunted spirit
begin to unfurl,
and I turn up my face
as I stretch toward the sky.