This winter I grew Paperwhites in my windowsills, their tiny hardy bulbs pushed into mason jars and glass bowls and left to grow on their own.
In a New England season so cold the pipes in my house were freezing regularly, the Paperwhites happily offered blooms white enough to match the snow outside. Just stones, sunlight, and a little water. That’s all they need, and they’ll be convinced to bloom even before the spring has come to thaw the ground.
I put them in clear containers so I could watch their roots reach fragile threads into the rocks. They remind me to wait and watch for new life. They make me think about sustenance, grounding, surviving.
It’s been a long winter, hasn’t it?
The word “Lent” comes from an ancient word for “Spring.” We are in the season of springtime: of newness and birth, of encounter and emergence, of growth and possibility.
Meister Eckhart writes:
“Tend only to the birth in you
and you will find all goodness and all consolation,
all delight, all being and all truth.
Reject it and you reject goodness and blessing.
What comes to you in this birth
brings with it pure being and blessing.”
We aren’t Paperwhites. We need more than just rocks, water, and sunlight to grow through the winter. The birth in us needs to be tended gently, coaxed into being.
That’s what Lent is for: a season to intentionally notice what is emerging in our souls and to invite and shelter whatever it brings with it.
Friends, believe that it is Lent, it is Spring. What is being born in you, and how are you tending to its quiet arrival?