The Amaryllis People

Today the first of our Amaryllis flowers blossomed.  We have four potted Amaryllis bulbs.  Most of them we got from people about to discard them.  I guess you might say we have been rescuing Amaryllis (that’s so noble-sounding). They captured my thoughts today.

Some of them have special memories attached to them.  There’s the one that we received last year from my Aunt, who had to cull out her personal belongings. She was moving into a small apartment in a retirement village.  I received it from her at Christmas, then promptly lost my grip on it and spilled the soil all over the carpet in the church basement.  Then there’s the one from my mother, the year before that.  It was the most prolific bloomer I have ever seen.  My mother admired it during her last Christmas with us.  When it was done blooming, we rescued it.  I am awaiting it to bloom again, so that I can vicariously share, once again, my mother’s pleasure in it. The others are just the average Amaryllis.

But, really, they are an inexpensive flower to buy at most stores, over the holidays. Typically,  most consider them to be a disposable flower. Until two years ago, I don’t recall ever having kept one from year to year.  Most annuals or perennials require a significant investment of toil and care before one gets any payback from the thrill of blossoms. With Amaryllis, I pay a few bucks and get a relatively carefree, quick thrill of blossoms in the winter season.

Once the thrill is past, why bother with the hassle of nourishing and caring for the plant throughout the growing season?  It was a hassle for us.  They got too much sun. They dried out quickly and needed frequent watering.  They yellowed and required feeding. The wind blew them over frequently and the soil needed replenished. I learned. I’m not sure that all of them thrived well enough to bloom this year.  I am waiting to find out.

This has caused me to reflect on how I treat people?  Each of us fears being an Amaryllis person.  A person, who is appreciated for a quick thrill, for an act or service we provide, for being the life of the party. Then, being tossed aside, when the party is over, being paid for the service we fulfilled, then discarded. We fear being replaced by the next person, who is more attractive, more talented, or is offering a discounted price for their service. We fear that no one will be present during the grind of life.  To share our joy in the sunshine, to right us when we tip over, to feed us when we are yellowing. To simply appreciate our life’s journey.

Or, perhaps we grow weary of being an Amaryllis grower.  We devote our life’s time and energy into performing a faithful, skillful service.  We elect the most beautiful strains. We spend years getting the Amaryllis bulb to be healthy, ready to produce the carefree act of beauty for the one that buys it.  But, our humanity is unrecognized, unappreciated.  Our work is behind the scenes, taken for granted, perhaps underpaid.  It caused Joanne and I to stop and reflect over our dinner meal this evening.  To express appreciation and ask God’s blessing for the many, who contributed in some way.

God knows every Amaryllis bulb that grows.  He knows every person that walks the face of the earth.  Each one bears His image.  God, help me be more mindful of recognizing the value of each, and be willing to engage in their life.

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