I’m between jobs, and “between” has lasted longer than I expected. It’s becoming more difficult not to be anxious about what might be next while I’m seeking the next season of life. As a vocational minister, one struggle among several is that I’m not currently making a significant contribution to the Kingdom. Wrestling through that struggle, I’ve been confronted by the reality that I’ve been running from one of God’s calls on my life for a while now. That’s the call to write.
I recognized a long time ago that God gave me the gift of words. I’ve also known for a long time that I wanted to write, but never pursued it seriously for various reasons. “I’ll write someday,” I’d think. Over the past few days, a burden has settled in my mind and heart. I almost feel like God is telling me that – until I quit running from this call to write – the next season of life will be on pause.
If God is indeed calling me to write, then what can I write to make a meaningful contribution to His kingdom? If there’s been an area of ministry in which I’ve felt especially competent, it’d be grief. I don’t have any more education in counseling than the typical pastor has obtained. I haven’t gained any more experience than the next minister. God has simply given me an ability to be calm and comfortable during those times when a life on earth is no more (or soon will be no more). And, He’s given me words for those times.
Some of my most beautiful and meaningful experiences have been around a patient’s death bed or in walking with a family through the process of grieving. My circumstances over the past year have given me a new perspective. My mom died on March 19,2015, after a sudden and short battle with cancer. Her loss has presented any number of emotional challenges in the months since, yet I’ve been able to hold to the same truths that I’ve offered to other families in their grief. I’ve been genuinely surprised at what a comfort that dynamic has provided.
My family now lives in the house that my mom called home from 1971 until she went to the hospital on March 6, 2015. Working in the yard was a passion for her. Every time I walk outside, reminders of her are always in sight. Mom had favorite flowers in every season, and daffodils were winter’s winner. She was a warm-weather lover, and daffodils are a harbinger that spring is on the way even if today’s air is bitterly cold. Daffodils are a visual respite for anyone who loathes winter. Much more than usual, I’ve been looking forward to the daffodils blooming this year. Yesterday they finally made their appearance.
The winters of life aren’t governed by the calendar. At some point all of us go through grief like it’s a miserable season that won’t end. At some point we’re all searching for daffodils, figuratively if not literally. We walk through dark times needing the hope of a small bright burst from the cold ground to remind us, “This won’t last forever.” Daffodils are sticky notes on our hearts, lest we forget that the same God who takes away is the same God who gave what was taken in the first place.
“Searching For Daffodils” isn’t the most masculine sounding title for a blog. Then again, I’ve never been confused with ‘macho’ (and the overwhelming majority of blog readers are female anyway)! Sooner or later, we’re all seeking joy to replace sadness. We’ll eventually need peace to prevail over discontentment, for hope to fill the emptiness. We’re all searching for daffodils. Is it possible that a blog can be an occasional vase of flowers on someone’s table of life? If I don’t start, then I’ll never find out. If I’ll write “someday” then someday is today.