I planted it more than a decade ago.
A lavender plant in a four-inch pot that held a tiny dream.
I was so hopeful back then. We'd moved to the country from our suburban neighborhood, and I imagined that someday I'd have a beautiful lavender farm on this place.
I could just see it: row after row of fragrant purple mounds that would be part of our new life and business.
But first, I'd see how well lavender would grow in the hardscrabble ground. I knew it wouldn't be easy. People told me it didn't have a chance. I chopped a hole in the rocky soil and set it in anyway.
"Go, little baby," I urged it.
And then life got tough.
The economy tanked.
We had to work hard to make ends meet, all while trying to finish raising our family in the whirlwind of high school and activities. The stress made my chest hurt at times. My husband and both lost sleep. We were exhausted, spent.
I abandoned the lavender farm dream, and went into survival mode.
The little plant was nearly forgotten in the years that followed, but somehow it hung on through blistering heat, record-setting drought, ice storms, and finally, torrential rains.
Every now and then I'd pass by it on the path, and see the small mound of silvery green foliage and marvel at its tenacity. Though alive, its growth was stunted by both the elements and my lack of care.
Not once did it flower.
It just survived.
It was like all of its strength was used up to simply stay alive, and there wasn't a single drop left over for something as frivolous as a bloom.
I understood, only too well.
Sometimes, just staying alive is the best you can do.
Surviving is victory.
It is victory enough.
Then the other morning, Tom pulled me outside. "You'll never believe it!" his eyes danced with a secret.
Our footsteps hurriedly crunched down the path on the hard ground. He brought me to a standstill in front of the lavender and pointed with a flourish.
"Take a look at this."
My breath escaped in an awestruck sigh.
Fresh purple blooms floated above the green mound like a tiara. The warm breeze made them dance, tethered on their stems lest they frolic away.
I sank down in front of it and slowly rubbed the colorful florets between my fingers. The distinctive scent immediately permeated the air and lingered on my skin, and I had to smile.
Baby, you survived.
You made it.
Just look at you.
The ground around you is nothing but rock that doesn't hold water.
And yet you found a way to put down roots.
The drought nearly killed you, but you clung to life anyway.
The harsh elements seemed to stunt your growth, but braving them made you resilient.
You didn't let neglect stop you.
You just kept going.
Year after year.
And even when no one gave you any hope of surviving...
you did it anyway.
You are strong.
You are brave.
And you are spectacular.
Sometimes, just surviving whatever it is you're going through is victory enough.
You've got to just hang in there. Keep on going.
Cling to life.
Because there will come a day when your roots will hit water, and your leaves will open, and you'll send up new shoots that are made to hold flowers like banners.
The sun will come out...and you. will. blossom.
Your day will come.
Maybe it's already here.
It's the day when "just surviving" is over, and your flowered tiara will float above you in a fragrant testimony to all that you've weathered.
Victory, my friend.
You will survive.
And you will bloom.
The desert and parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.....
they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God.