Grow Where You Are Planted

My house is positioned facing north-northwest in such a way that, except for early morning, our front lawn and driveway are entirely in the shadow of the house. Despite this, my mom has cultivated a garden in front of the house filled with petunias, daffodils, tulips, poppies, and snapdragons.

It was the year after my parents got divorced, the first summer me, my mom, and my two sisters were on our own, when the flower first bloomed. It was late spring, on the verge of summer, and the whole garden was in glorious bloom. Then, out of a crack in the driveway, a single petunia unfurled its soft magenta petals.

We marveled at its resilience and its survival despite its surroundings, and for that whole summer it bloomed and gave us hope that perhaps we, too, could survive what was going on in our lives, and flourish despite it.

Fall came, the garden slowly diminished and dried up, and so did the flower in the driveway. We told people the story of this persistent flower, and how it seemed to be encouraging us in a time when we needed it the most. The last thing we expected was for the same petunia to come to bloom in the same crack in the driveway the next year.

A quick note about gardening: flowers are typically classified as annuals, biennials, and perennials. Annuals bloom only one year, having to be replanted every year, biennials bloom two years and must be replanted, and perennials come back every single year. Tulips are perennials; petunias are annuals. They are not supposed to come back every year, but that is exactly what happened with our impossible flower.

The first year it came back it flourished the entire summer; the second year it came back it had three blooms; the third year it grew into two independent plants, and by the fourth year of coming back, it was a veritable bush of a petunia plant. After so many years of a repeated miracle, small as it was, we had come to realize that this impossible, persistent flower was a message of encouragement from God, telling us that we could survive whatever hardships life threw at us.

Even today, when life has gotten easier and we’re out of the woods, the flower continues to come back, reminding us of God’s faithfulness in hard times, and reminding us that, no matter what, we can grow wherever we are planted.