This weekend God caught my attention. He does it often, but this time it was such an apparent, in-your-face event — something nearly impossible to ignore.
After all the Capital City hullabaloo over this year’s cherry blossoms, this past weekend came to a climax around the much anticipated centennial celebration at the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival. The only problem is — much to the chagrin of festival organizers and tens of thousands of tourists armed with cameras in hand — there were no cherry blossoms left. The amazing trees — once full of breathtaking pink-and-white, fluffy blooms — had turned into just regular old, green trees.
Three weeks. That’s the window of opportunity these cherry blossoms give us each year. Just three weeks. And then they’re gone, not to return again for another 49 weeks or so. As you can imagine, the talk flurried around town even more quickly than the blooms had fallen off the trees. There was a clear disappointment in the air — camera lens caps still in place, umbrellas raised to shield tourists from the misty rain.
But just a few hundred steps away from the Tidal Basin, where the cherry blossom trees still stood wondering what they had done wrong, my big sister and I stumbled upon a beautiful surprise. Tulips had invaded my city. They were everywhere. Red, yellow, orange, peach, coral, purple, white. I was in awe and immediately turned into a full-fledged tourist — a Sony camera in my right hand, an iPhone camera in my left hand, a mouth that couldn’t stop saying, “Oh. My. Goodness!” The beauty was simply amazing. I was having flashbacks of the week I spent in Holland years ago. I remembered breathing in God’s creation as I stared at miles and miles of tulip fields, stretching as far as the eye could see. And now here, in the middle of downtown D.C., I breathed it all in again.
Isn’t this just a small reflection, a simple reminder of God’s abounding mercies?
Did you recently come out of a relationship that you thought was your cherry blossom tree? Maybe you’re holding onto a relationship from years ago — a love that was so beautiful, so real that you wanted to hang onto it forever. But it didn’t last, and after those blooms fell to the ground, there you were — alone and sitting under just a regular old, green tree, wondering what you had done wrong. And in the aftermath, perhaps you believe you’ll never find love again.
Don’t forget the tulips.
Just around the bend, just a few hundred steps away, they’re waiting for you. Love is waiting for you. I believe it for myself and my hope is that you believe it for yourself — for no other reason than it has been promised to us in the Word.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” – Lamentations 3:22-24
Trust me, once you catch a glimpse of the tulips, you’ll find it hard to remember what that cherry blossom fuss was all about, anyway.