I live in Holland, MI, a city (population of about 33,000) that plants 467,000 tulip bulbs – every year. We even recycle them. Residents are invited to come to three parks in early June and dig up bulbs, filling a five-gallon bucket for $10.I have read that the area surrounding Holland (which includes a tulip farm) boasts of more than five million tulips! Meandering downtown and crisscrossing residential streets when these signature flowers are all in bloom is a feast for the eyes and heart.
This year, a cold spring has descended on Holland; it does not want to budge. The tulips are still stems and buds, the trees are just beginning to bud, and the grass is barely greening. I have been itching to beautify my balcony again with pots of colorful flowers, but it is not time yet. I went for a walk last week and found some daffodils growing by the roadside. I’ve plucked a couple of these spring beauties twice now and they are ensconced in a place of honor on the pass-through shelf right by my sink. And yet I am still impatient for more spring.
So last week I bought a small gerbera daisy and put it on my kitchen table. Two pink blossoms pop out of dark green leaves that remind me of lettuce or kale. One of the joys of this kind of daisy is that it sprouts healthy buds that you can barely see until they are several inches tall. I began peeking into the plant hoping to see a bud a few days ago and was overjoyed to discover two small ones hiding in the safety of the foliage.
Our culture is attached to the idea of “more is better” and complex is better than simple. Many yards in Holland feature tulip beds, but there is something truly spectacular about seeing hundreds, even thousands, in one place. However, my two daffodils and a potted daisy are reminding me that less can be better; simple can be spectacular. The delicacy of a daffodil is more easily appreciated when there are only one or two blossoms to take in. A bud in a pot of pink daisies can be a lovely miracle all by itself. My life and your life are just as beautiful and just as valuable in God’s economy as the crowds of lives that surround us. This truth gives new meaning to the old standby: “Stop and smell the roses” – and daffodils and daisies.