Bright Spot

Bright Spot

I’ve been making a lot of quick movements in life lately.

I have a to-do list on a yellow pad. There are individual emails and Facebook messages on it because it’s getting hard to keep it all straight. I don’t want anything, or more importantly, anyone, to fall through the cracks in the ice.

Spring is here.

After finishing a particularly grueling deadline last week, I went to pick up a few bottles of wine I’d ordered in my quest for the perfect spring rosé. This was yet another item I needed to check-off my to-do list and I recognized the irony. This wine, used for celebration the week prior, name noted and texted to my wine stylist (yes, I have a wine stylist), was just an errand I had to run, something I needed to pick up, like dry-cleaning.

I often buy my wine at a neighborhood international grocery store which doubles as a gas station. It is the sort of place one might expect a hipster to shop. As I left with my box of wine, I noticed bunches of daffodils outside, closed, as if they were sleeping in the dark. On a whim, I went back inside and purchased a bunch, choosing one at random. I took them home and put them in a vase in hope. I do not usually get along well with plants. My track record suggests that I would choose the one bunch that would not open.

The next morning, I awoke and was greeted by the sight of open daffodils. I peered at them for a while, spending a little quality time with my own version of self-care.

I was hoping that my daffodils would help me to slow down, if only because they sit still and beckon me with their flirty yellow presence.

I’ve been thinking about daffodils lately, ever since I wrote my post about giving up Lent. As I searched for an image for the post, I kept coming up with photos of daffodils. A little research turned up some new (for me) information: daffodils are also called “Lenten lilies.”

Even though I haven’t been intentional with Lent this year, Lent has been intentional with me. I’ve been reading and talking and leaning into the freedom of Lent. I’ve been trying to pay attention.

At first it seemed absurd. There is something so funky about a daffodil. They are flowers which don’t take themselves too seriously. I like to think that God chortled a little, as He made them, gently forming that central trumpet with the greatest of care.

Then, of course, there is the color choice. Daffodils scream of sunshine. They proclaim, in some ways the loudest of the spring bulbs: spring is here!

I began to carry my vase with me around the house, placing it before me on the breakfast table, keeping it by my bed, always just inside my vision, a reminder to smile, to slow down, to breathe a little more deeply.

It was for this reason, I think, that I began to notice the heavenly and addictive scent of a daffodil.

Have you ever buried your nose in one, the way you would a rose? I recommend it. I found myself literally distracted by a perfume I’d never noticed before. In fact, if you’d asked me last week, I would have told you that daffodils have no smell.

I guess I’d never been up close for long.

The more I kept company with my daffs, however, the more I began to identify with them. Sometimes I feel like an overly cheerful guest at a party, the one trumpeting the arrival of spring. There is a yellow cardigan that I wear, with appliquéd tulips, when I need to project this springiness, even to myself.

I am the cute one, the slightly funky one, the one I like to think God smiled as He made and laughs with, even now. I am the one whose aroma wafts only as you get close and stay a while.

My birthday is in February, and I’ve always said (tongue in cheek) that something bright needed to happen in that dreary, muddy month, so I was born. Perhaps this is why daffodils are also Lenten lilies. In the midst of “bright sadness” they are only bright. In the midst of wonderment about whether or not spring will come, they stand and trumpet that it will.

Glory to God, who made roses, daffodils, and me.

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{photo credit}

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  • Dean Gustafson

    Great choice of words–chortle! I like to think of God that way too–sort of a gleeful, hearty soul that amuses himself as he creates. I think, from time to time, God also lets out a good gigglesnort!

    • Cara Strickland

      I agree. I’m sure that God is a God of many different kinds of laughter. :)

  • Karrilee Aggett

    I love this… I absolutely love this! (and now I am off to find daffs to carry with me and smell! Who knew they had a scent?)

    • Cara Strickland

      I know! They were positively intoxicating :) How amazing the things I don’t notice.

  • Suzanne Terry

    Daffodils are my favorite! Also, I need a wine stylist. Great post.

    • Cara Strickland

      Everyone needs a wine stylist, Suzanne :)

  • Bethany Pegors

    Love this, friend! Now I’m tempted to go out and buy some daffodils of my own. :)

    • Cara Strickland

      You should :) (wine wouldn’t hurt either).

  • Brenda W.

    Love this! I’ll think of it as I enjoy the daffodils in my neighborhood. :)

    • Cara Strickland

      Oh good! I love this part of spring, and the built in reminder now. :)

  • Courtney

    I love the image of you carrying this vase of beauty around with you in your home, choosing to bring hope and spring and joy into every ordinary corner of living. And isn’t it always the case that when we are intentional about the small things, we are awakened to things we’ve always missed before? I remember discovering a year or so ago that grape hyacinths (muscari) actually do smell like grapes. I wondered why in the world I hadn’t known that already but I realized it might be because they’re so tiny that you have to kneel right down in the muddy ground of early spring to reach their scent. And I’m starting to think life’s a lot like that, too–so many hidden beauties and truths just waiting for us to stop and lower ourselves into the muddy places of a life and taste and see that God is good even there.

    • Cara Strickland

      Oooh. I love grape hyacinths, Now, I will need to hunt some down and stoop next to them.
      Thank you so much for being here, friend, and for entering into this place with me.

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