One Christmas a friend of mine was given a cyclamen in a pot. Eventually it stopped flowering and she was going to throw it away. ‘It’s only dreary leaves,’ she said, ‘cluttering up the place.’
‘You should water it,’ I replied. ‘Don’t throw it out’.
Weeks passed and when I next looked in on her it was a cluster of fresh green leaves. Months passed and she said, ‘I’ve been watering every day as you said but it still doesn’t flower, and the summer’s almost over’.
‘Wait!’ I answered. ‘It will flower in the winter.’
And then for nearly two months she saw it flowering, day by day, week after week. Flowers are a great teacher.
Too often we despair about ourselves or our relationships and want to chuck everything, throw it out, buy a fresh plant or start a new affair. Yet if only we will persevere and work at the situation or relationship, it will flower again. All living things need a time to lie fallow, a time when nothing much appears to be happening.
There are some lines from a poem by George Herbert that have helped me much in the past:
Who would have thought my shrivell’d heart
Could have recovered greenness? It was gone
Quite underground, as flowers depart
To feed their mother-root when they have blown:
Where they together
All the hard weather
Dead to the world, keep house unknown.