Hope and Dead Hydrangeas

” I am so sad about my hydrangea.”

It’s approximately the 5,430th time I’ve said that as we pull into our driveway.

My beautiful hydrangea, whose leaves I held tenderly between thumb and forefinger as I placed it in the hallowed ground of my front yard last summer.  The hydrangea whose petals I inspected fervently as it adjusted to the ph in the soil- will it be blue? Or pink? Or the even more illusive white? I dreamed about owning a colonial home with sprawling hydrangea bushes.  I watered it twice a day.  Shaded it from the heat of the noonday sun.  And still, it withered and cowered by October, it’s stems lifeless twigs and I just hadn’t the heart to dig it up.  

And now, after a long and cold winter that still seems to be clinging on with cold and damp fingers, it stood as an embodiment of shriveled hopes.

I wanted it gone.

But, every week I’d ask my husband to dig it up, or suggest I was going out to do the deed, he’d tell me to leave it be.  Give it some time.


Hadn’t it had enough time? It was dead.


Like, Ellie could snap it in two with her little fingers, dead.

He was always this way, my husband. As long as we’ve been married.  Holding out hope.  Waiting just one second longer.  One month longer.  One year longer.  Just give them/it/us some time.  Just leave it be.  Just wait.  We have fit comfortably into our roles- he, the free-spirited, Rusted Root loving, barefoot, community living, easy-going dreamer.  Me, the neurotic, rational, budgeting, nagging, perfectionist, emotional task master.

Until I realized how this one thing does not fit into the molds I’ve placed us in.  This one thing, that I am always the first to throw up my hands in surrender, pack a bag, let it go, and run away.  But he, he always sees ahead of where my line of vision stops and it is there where hope lives and he tells me to wait- to pray- to hold on one more minute, hour, year.  There is something green growing here.  Something worth it.  We will never know or see or experience unless we STAY and WAIT.

For years I have thought that I was the practical side of our partnership- the string to hold the balloon.  I never realized that it was me who was the wanderer- the restless investigator. At times, the faithless.  I have never believed something was worth it enough to stick it out before I met him.  I still, often, do not have the hope he has in people, in things, in our community, in our Jesus but I am astounded at how, after a decade of being together, I am constantly surprised by who God had made him to be and the impact his hope- his STAY- has made on me, on our daughter, and others who know him.  Marriage is hard and long and the most beautiful, beautiful thing I have ever experienced. 

This week as we pulled into the driveway, he went slower than usual and waited for my hydrangea lament.  When I didn’t deliver it, he said matter-of-factly, ” Huh.  Looks like there’s some new green leaves sprouting out of your “dead” hydrangea.”

Something green out of something dead.


He was right again.







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