Essays on Faith: Miracles bloom in unlikely places

Essential reporting in volatile times.

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The year was 1926 and the season was fall — intoxicating fall. A dark-haired little girl named Ginny was playing alone in the huge backyard of the house in which she lived. Her eyes diverted from the lovely fall color that had carpeted the ground and was ablaze on the yard’s trees.

She heard the back door opening and turned around to see her mother walking toward her. “Are you having any fun out here alone?” she asked.

“I’m alright, but you know I love fall as much as you do,” Ginny said.

“How true,” her mother replied.

Both took in the sensory overload not only of the backyard, but of the large hills in the distance.

“Mother, do you know what I wish?” asked Ginny.

“What do you wish?” her mother said.

“See the big tree right there? I want some tulips to bloom around it soon,” Ginny said.

“Tulips don’t bloom in the fall,” her mother said with laughter in her voice.

“Oh, that’s right,” Ginny said, “but I wish we had some tulips.”

“Well, I can buy some tulip bulbs and we can plant them this weekend — we can plant them around that tree,” her mother said.

Those word set Ginny’s mind afire. She knew that after they planted the bulbs she’d have a long time to wait for them to bloom, but maybe magic would make them bloom earlier.

That weekend, mother and daughter dug in the dirt all around the big tree and Ginny got to place each bulb. Then her mother covered them up with dirt.

“Our job is done,” her mother said, “but why don’t you gather some leaves and put them over each planted bulb?”

“Why?” Ginny asked.

“Because the leaves will keep the bulbs safer till spring arrives,” her mother said.

That made no sense to an almost 6-year-old little girl, but she did so willingly.

In late October, Ginny’s birthday came and went, and then winter arrived, lingering long as it’s prone to do. Every single day, Ginny looked out her bedroom window of the two-story house at the snow-covered area around the tree. “Not one tulip,” she said softly.

Winter seemed to last forever, but Ginny did have fun outside playing with the other neighborhood kids in the snow.

Finally, spring arrived. Every single day she either looked out her bedroom window or went outside to see if the tulips were blooming, but they weren’t. Her heart sunk. Going inside, she asked her mother why they weren’t blooming.

“They will bloom when they’re ready. You have to wait,” her mother said.

Her mother knew that no 6-year-old wants to wait, but she also felt her daughter’s anticipation and worry.

Spring was in all of its glory and yet not one tulip had surfaced. Not one. And yes, the yard had been cleaned and raked. Ginny was so upset and kept asking her mother, “Why?”

“I don’t know why they haven’t bloomed, but maybe a miracle will happen,” her mother said.

Several days later, her mother was uptown shopping and spied some fake tulips for sale. She bought quite a few and had them put in a large brown shopping bag. When she arrived home, she hid the bag in her bedroom closet.

Late that night when everyone was asleep, she tiptoed downstairs with the bag and quietly went out the back door and placed each fake tulip all around the tree. The full moon seemed to shine on each one beautifully.

Task done, Ginny’s mother came inside, went upstairs and went to bed. It seemed as if she didn’t sleep long before she was awakened by Ginny’s screaming, “The tulips bloomed. The tulips bloomed.”

“What?” asked her mother, acting as if she had no idea.

“Oh mother, they’re beautiful. Let’s go outside and see them,” Ginny said.

Ginny raced past her mother out the back door and looked at each tulip.

“They’re the prettiest tulips I’ve ever seen,” she squealed.

As she touched one, it felt a little strange, but her happiness outweighed her curiosity. Her mother smiled a big smile as she knew she had made her daughter happy, and yet she felt the guilt of deceit.

“Ginny, they’re not real — I bought them for you and put them in the ground,” she said.

“You did?” she asked.

“Yes,” her mother answered.

As Ginny pulled on each fake tulip, she noticed something underneath each one — a real tulip was starting to push its way out of the ground. “Look mother! Look! You made magic happen — you did!”

Her mother couldn’t believe the tulip miracle, and yet she knew that God not only performed His own, but also made miracles happen.

The tulips did bloom that year, and both mother and daughter were beyond thrilled for they had “fake” ones inside and real ones outside. “With me, nothing is impossible,” said God. And God had created a miracle for a little girl and her mother.

By the way, that little 6-year-old girl would later become my mother, and her mother, my grandmother. The three of us became tulip lovers forever — and maybe because of a wish, a hope and a miracle from God.

Essays on Faith may be submitted to gazette@wvgazettemail.com.

Find more Essays on Faith at www.wvgazettemail.com/life/religion.

Funerals for Thursday, July 2, 2020

Adkins, Anne - 6 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.

Morton, Freda - 11 a.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Nunn, Terry - 7 p.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.

Olive, Rex - 2 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Reynolds, George - 2 p.m., Dodd & Reed Funeral Home, Webster Springs.

Rhodes, Ella - 4 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.

Rose, Carol - 10 a.m., Cunningham Memorial Park, St. Albans.

Waldron, Helen - 1 p.m., Forks of Coal Cemetery, Alum Creek.

Wibberg, David - 11 a.m., St. Anthony Catholic Church, Charleston.