Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
James 4: 14 (NIV)
The place is located in Lake Arrowhead, California, not far from Laguna.
The way I heard the story, a daughter had always wanted her mother to see the spot where the daffodils were, but at least now before they were finished blooming for the year. Her mother was concerned about the drive to get there because of the fog and clouds along the way, but the daughter eventually prevailed assuring her mother that it would be a memory she’d never forget.
After an uneventful trip near to the spot, they turned onto a gravel road, saw a small church, and on the far side of the church found a hand lettered sign that read “Daffodil Garden.” They stopped, parked the car and began to walk in the direction of the sign. As they walked past the sign, they turned a corner and before them stretching out for what seemed like forever, was the most beautiful sight her mother had ever seen. It took her breath away. It looked as though someone had poured kettles of the most beautiful paints across the mountain peaks which rose up before them.
The daffodils she saw were planted in majestic, swirling patterns—great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, pink, green, and buttery yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river—with its own unique hue.
There were over five acres of flowers. And on a poster near a small frame house at the foot of the mountain of daffodils, were some of the answers to the questions which were swirling in their minds. The first answer was—“50,000 bulbs.” (Today it is estimated that number is approaching 80,000). The next answer was—“One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and very little brain.” And the final answer read—“Began in 1958.”
They stood there thinking of the woman who they had never met, and who over a half-century earlier had begun to plant the mountain of daffodils, one bulb-at-at-time. On an ordinary mountain which now burst forth in all its grandeur and color before them and had changed the world in which she lived.
The girl’s mother became sad and reflected on what she herself might have accomplished if she had undertaken a worthy goal years ago and worked at it “one-bulb-at-a-time.” But then her daughter reminded her that her life was not over—and she should start now on something—and finish all the way to the end.
We have a dear friend who did just that—who undertook to fulfill goal-after-goal—all designed to make a difference in the world and the lives around him which God had given him. And in those numerous undertakings, he planted “daffodil gardens,” so-to-speak, everywhere he went while he was among us.
A few days ago, much too soon for us who remain, he passed on from this life to continue his life with his Heavenly Father.
Gone too soon from our midst, but not from our minds, and not before he left a lifetime of memories for all of us, and for many others we will never know whom he touched in the world every day of his life.
Gone too soon, leaving us heartbroken and a bit empty, but full of all he poured within each of us. And so we don’t dwell too long in our moment of sadness, lest we miss all the fullness of the life he lived among us and the example he set for us to follow for the rest of our lives.
I don’t know whether or not that daffodil lady could have envisioned that mountainside in all its colorful glory when she started her journey back in 1958, but she could envision one daffodil, and then another, and another—one bulb at a time until her glorious masterpiece was complete.
Starting where she was, with what she had in her hand, bulb by bulb, the mountain of daffodils began to grow. And it grew into something perhaps only God could see as she began the journey. She simply stepped out following what God had laid upon her heart to do—one-step-at-a-time, one-bulb-at-a-time.
That’s the way our friend, Mark, did it. With what he had he made a difference in the world around him. A beautiful difference. A lasting difference. An eternal difference.
One-life-at-a-time. One-day-at-a-time. One-step-at-a-time. One daffodil bulb at a time.
Always for others, and always for God’s glory.
What about us? What will be our next step? Planting daffodils? Or doing something else?
When will we begin?
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2014. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.