Tulips have become one of my favorite flowers. Their arrival means that Spring is finally here! I always look forward to seeing the first tulips of the season start to bloom around the city. Tulips are also my Quentin’s pick when he gives me “just because” flowers, and for that reason alone they hold a special place in my heart. But I just received the most beautiful message about tulips, and they’re more than just pretty flowers; they’re also great examples of how to go through life, especially in difficult times.
// They always find the sun.
There are times I’ve come home from work and found my tulips literally craning their necks towards our window. It’s fascinating to witness how sensitive to light these flowers are. They can tell where the light is coming from, and that’s the direction they stretch. Tulips always find the sun; in a dark room, they reach for the one spot where the sun is trickling in. Tulips don’t thrive in the darkness, and they know it. If they had legs, I’m sure they’d get up and walk out of that dark place until they found the sun they needed.
// They drink it all in.
Tulips go through water like no other flower I’ve ever seen. They have long, wide stems that are hollow like straws, and just like straws the tulips use their stems to draw in every last bit of the water you put in their vase. If you want to keep tulips nice and tall, put them in a bright room so that they can enjoy the light from all around and grow straight up, and make sure they have plenty of water! They take it all in, and that water in turn helps to strengthen the flowers. The botanical term is “turgidity,” in which water expands the individuals cells of the flower, and the result is a big, beautiful bloom that stands firm from stalk to petals and doesn’t wilt or go limp.
// They’re better when in full bloom.
Sure, tulips are pretty when they’re slender and closed, but there’s nothing like waking up in the morning and seeing your flowers in full bloom. They’re absolutely radiant. The petals are so big and pretty, and the colors in the center of each flower keep your eyes fixated on their gorgeous blooms. And tulips naturally come in so many beautiful colors and varieties; in the spring, the flower markets are filled with them, the streets are lined with blooms of different colors, and the city is definitely a happier place once the tulips have arrived.
Tulips don’t wallow in their dark days, and they don’t stay in the dark longer than they have to. Instead, at the first ray of hope, they look to the light. They keep reaching for the Son. They know their focus should be on getting out of the darkness and into that glorious light. Tulips also know that their experiences (good or bad) are what help them grow, so they take them all in–those experiences are what will make them stronger and keep them from wilting and falling limp under pressure. And while all tulips are beautiful when in bloom, no two tulips will bloom in the same way, with the same color or height or fullness. A tulip sees the other beautiful flowers around her, but she does not compare herself to the flower sitting next to her. She just blooms because she knows the other flowers have had to drink up their own experiences and have also had to stretch and search for the light in order to bloom. So she celebrates the tulips around her and continues to grow in grace.
Let’s be tulips…