The saying “April showers bring May flowers” never meant much to me until now, now I get to reflect on all the flowers that will bloom because of Susu’s life…
When I was little, I can remember my grandmother’s backyard always being stocked with flowers. She taught me how to name each and every one. She taught me which flowers made their own seeds so you didn’t have to go and buy them from the store, which ones you had to pick the dead blooms off of so the new ones could sprout, which ones were watered in the morning and in the evening, which ones could have lots of sun and which ones had to be partially shaded, and how to make sure the hose had to run for a minute before watering the plants so it wouldn’t scorch them after being in the sun all day. Just like that Trace Atkins song says, “she thinks we’re just fishing,” that’s all I thought was “oh we’re just planting flowers”.
Little did I know that I’d be looking back realizing that we weren’t just planting flowers. In the midst of “those are hibiscus flowers Chandler not ‘hot biscuits’” and “remember you have to make sure you collect the zinnia seeds so we can replant them next year” were life lessons. “Make sure you collect the zinnia seeds” turned into give someone a second chance, “water those plants three times a day” turned into invest time in your talents so you can be the best you can be, and “be sure to loosen the dirt on those before we put them in the ground” turned into be kind to someone and give them a little help in order to allow them to reach their full potential.
Me and my grandmother planted so many flowers in her backyard, but when I was younger, I wanted immediate results (like come back in an hour and have a full grown watermelon results), but I quickly came to realize that caring for plants takes patience, attention, and care. Key things that I learned while planting flowers with Susu.
My grandmother taught me not to be judgmental, how to forgive those that have hurt you in the deepest of ways, how to laugh even when you feel like there isn’t a thing in the world to smile about, and how to be a strong, strong Christian woman that puts others before herself. She planted these seeds when I was very young, and little did I know that throughout her lifetime she had been watering them, putting fertilizer on them, making sure they didn’t get too much sun or not enough, and having patience to sit back and watch them grow. She may not have gotten to see all her seeds bloom, but she sure loved to make comments on the growth of each one and critique my techniques for their care whenever she felt the need.
Reflecting on the many hours spent in the dirt in the hot summer heat, I have come to realize that some of my best life lessons were learned there, kneeling beside my grandmother. Even in her death, she has planted yet another seed–one of hope. Hope for a future for me. Throughout this difficult time, I kept telling myself there has to be a bigger plan. I kept reciting the verse: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.- Jeremiah 29:11.
And there was, it has been there all along. Susu had planted the seed of hope for my future and now all I had to do was remember everything she had taught me while we were “just planting flowers” and watch the seed grow.
Susu passed away April 29, 2016 and with the “showers” of tears from those last days in April will come flowers in May from the seed of hope that she planted for my future.