Larry and I went to Providence Canyon in October. A hike into a canyon carved by erosion is Larry’s idea of a fun day. Me? Not so much. But, I found myself following him down and down and down a winding path to the canyon floor. My thought the whole time was “Oh my! How in the world am I going to make it out of here?!” Larry, ever patient with my fears, just kept leading me further and further down, never doubting that I’d make it out. [Turns out he was right, but I sure didn’t know that at the time!]
Once we reached the floor, Larry actually wanted to explore. I mean, what was he thinking? Didn’t he know how hard it would be to get back to the top? Shouldn’t we start back so we could get out before dark? I didn’t actually ask those questions out loud — most of them anyway, which is probably a good thing since it was still morning after all. But, I think you get the picture that I wasn’t exactly in favor of an extended tour. I grudgingly followed Larry up a small creek and into the first canyon to look around. Where I saw some really tall rocks exposed when the earth had washed away, Larry saw beauty. I would lean back toward the exit while Larry wanted to go further, to explore side trails.
While he was following one ever-narrowing path that was a bit too steep for my taste, I stopped to take a few photos and found the most extraordinary thing. There, clinging to the side of a rock, roots completely exposed, was a flower. It’s not the purple flower in the picture above; I couldn’t find the snapshot I took to include with this post. But, this little yellow flower was blooming with all her might in what can most fairly be described as less-than-ideal circumstances.
I promised that flower that I was going to write about her someday. I’ve thought about her from time to time, but never quite knew what to say.
Yesterday was an odd day. It was incredibly productive for me and full of a great deal of positives. I got to visit with dear friends and family in person, via text and on the phone. And so many of them were hurting, dealing with sickness and heartache. Conversations and news stories and social media seemed to breathe out sadness. [Would you believe that as I wrote those words I just got a news alert saying “North Korea claims to have conducted a successful hydrogen bomb test”?] I wish I had some brilliant words to offer, some salve that would soothe heartache. As I tried to find words, my mind was filled with the memory of that flower, blooming despite the harshness of her surroundings, the barrenness of the soil, and the exposure of her roots.
The New International Version’s translation of Luke 12:27 says, “Consider how the wild flowers grow.” I believe my little yellow flower has a lesson for us, one that mirrors closely David’s words in Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Nahum 1:7 adds, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him.”
When we find ourselves, like that flower, on the edge of the rock with the earth eroding from underneath us, we can bloom anyway. We can call on “God (who) is our refuge and strength, a help always near in times of great trouble” (Psalm 46:1).