Back in Holland, I know that Hope College has just graduated the class of 2009 (CONGRATs to my beloved students!!) and Tulip Time is in full swing. This is always a favorite time of year for JP and me. For as long as we’ve been married, Tulip Time was a signal. Seeing the spring rains arrive, and the tulips poking their colorful blooms into the fresh, bright world was just one reason to smile. JP would gladly admit that Tulip Time is a favorite time because of the carnival food carts that line up along 8th Street. (In fact, JP loves those visits to the food carts so much that he occasionally talks about organizing our trips to India so that we can be gone during the worst of Holland’s winter, but make it back in time for Tulip Time!) And, while I admit that we both like to go for a corn dog and a fat ball– which sounds gross, but tastes like a Boston Creme donut, but better– I think we both love Tulip Time for the way that it marks a change of season, a change of attitude, a change of pace, and even a change of place for us. Tulip Time, for me, always indicated the close of another school year, with lovely hints of sumer beginning to loom before me. It was both the end of something, and a sweet, blessed beginning. It was the scramble and rush of life and work at the college giving way to hopeful piles of books to be read, walks to be dilly-dallied along, and grilled meals to be savored. In addition to these things, Tulip Time generally pointed toward an imminent trip to India for JP and me. Tulip Time, rain or shine, warm or cold, was a breath of life, with the heavy undertone of excitement.
Now it is Tulip Time, but here we are, already in India. I’ve been a bit out of sorts these last few days, and without trying to be overly dramatic about it, I think I’m rather homesick. It was this time last year that I bid a bittersweet farewell to my beloved Hope College, and my ministry as a chaplain. I was a little less than half way through my pregnancy, and JP and I were looking forward to an exciting, busy trip to India that included his brother’s marriage. This was to be followed by my sister’s wedding shortly after we returned. During this whole time period, I was also trying to grasp the details of a new profession as I joined JP as his partner in mission work. Needless to say, this has been a year of major change for me. I’m not sure I’ve given myself the time and space for proper reflection, but I am suddenly realizing that my heart has not forgotten to reflect. My heart is tugging at me, reminding me of the things that have been my rhythm for so many years. There is a quiet sorrow in me for that which is over, and I’ve found myself missing Tulip Time and all that it signaled for me in previous year.
However, to be most truthful, I must also admit that God is planting good seeds in my life right now. In this year, God has gifted me with my precious little Leila. She is my tulip this May. And, God has been (and will continue) planting seeds related to my new professional life. I trust that these seeds will grow into bright, daring blossoms, all in due time. It will take some time for these seeds to grow, for the blossoms to emerge. So, I say, I am grateful to be here. Growing is good for me, and flowers are worth waiting for.