Break the rules. Keep the Faith.


For the past three years in December, my twin brother has sent me a pot of amaryllis blubs from Harry and David’s. But this Christmas, the bulbs came looking less than hardy: very dry, small, and pretty pathetic compared to past years.


They looked so bad that I took a picture and sent it to John as proof that if they did not bloom, he could get his money back from the retailer.


Instead of following the directions, I felt these bulbs needed something different. Instead of water, I placed ice cubes on the soil once or twice a week. I placed the pot in a window that looked to the sea and received pretty steady sunlight… more sunlight than was recommended. I broke the rules.


For weeks, nothing changed. I kept up my ice cubes and rotated the pot. Somehow, I had faith that there was unseen growth going on inside my bulbs.

Finally, six weeks later, a stalk appeared. And then another.  Almost overnight, sturdy stalks climbed upward and opened into amazing blossoms. Now—almost through the month of February, I have seven flowers AND, the tiniest bulb is just now beginning to sprout not one but two stalks!


You have to christen just such a plant. Meet Phyllis Amaryllis. She’s a beauty.


My plant, I realized, offers a wonderful metaphor for resilience. Perhaps you have had times, as I have, when you feel small, dried out, and frankly pathetic in comparison to others. Staying the course and believing in yourself can be difficult.


But, if we listen to the inner voice of wisdom—refuse to imitate others but follow our own guidance, we can grow. We break the “rules” and we keep the faith. Patience is tested but—as with Phyllis Amaryllis—I know we can all bloom WHEN and WHERE we are planted. It just might take a little longer.

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