"New life starts in the dark, whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it starts in the dark." --Barbara Brown Taylor
There is a little rose bush that sits outside of my window. Every year, after winter's frost, she blooms deep red roses the size of a kiss. I like to imagine her genesis as a small brown seed, no bigger than the tip of a pinky finger, sitting snugly in the moist and muted earth.
In my imagining, I am with the seed in the soft and sticky dirt and watch as she keeps friendly company with the slim white worms and the shiny backed beetles. After a few days pass, an assortment of industrious insects surround her, muttering cooly.
"Why is she just sitting there so still and silent in the soil?" asks the roly poly to the spider? "There is work to be done!"
"Does...she...think...she...is...better...than...us?" The blind worm says slowly to no one in particular.
"Let us wait and see," the wise spider replies.
A few more days pass in the dark and damp earth while the sanctimonious insects and one sensible spider keep fervent watch. Then, the seed cracks open, and a lean green shoot unfolds.
"Well, I'll be..." says the roly poly to the spider.
"I...can't...see..what...is...happening!" the blind worm says with a hint of agitation (as he is perennially curious but burdened by the inability to see anything at all).
"Let us wait and see," the wise spider says.
And see they do as the little seed continues to unfold, her roots spreading south through the soil while her stem navigates north towards the sky. Even the smuggest of bugs does not deny the beauty of this transformation: a once-silent-seed exploding with movement and mission. In a final, furious push, the small seed's stem breaks through the earth's crust, and she is baptized in sunlight.
"Magnifique!" the roly poly says in French, a language he uses only when truly surprised.
"Transcendent," the blind worm says delightedly (although he is blind, he can sense the sunlight and is pleased).
"Let us wait and see," the wise spider suggests.
In the passing days, as the industrious insects recommit to their subterranean scurry, the wise spider and I continue to watch the rose bush grow sure and steady from seed to stem to bush to bloom, her becoming as inevitable as spring's thaw.
Baby Oscar starts to cry, and I am pulled away from my reverie and pushed back into reality. In that moment I commit to remember the little red rose bush. When my heart is submerged in shadow, threatening to split apart; when a chorus of criticism rings loud and long around me; when it seems that I will surely suffocate from the weight of waiting, I will listen to my wisest self when she says:
Be still like a seed when stillness is needed.
Break open like a shoot when breaking is needed.
Push slow and steady toward the light--it hovers assuredly above the ache.
And most of all, hold fast and faithful in the knowledge that all life starts in the dark and every new day is born from a long and shaded night.