She beckoned me across the ocean with a hope: “The cherry blossoms will be in bloom.” I scraped together Delta miles, withheld new clothes and fast food, saved change so I could see them burst open. When we need deep renewing, we cling to hope symbols.
I imagined my destination: Seoul, Korea, the spirit of a city as a balm of beauty, pink, resurrecting me from pinched nerve pain. From my fearful heart beating anxiety. From being stuck between my passions: teaching my children at home and being a writer.
Cherry blossoms would be my rebirth.
Pink means love, of oneself and others. It also means, “the best condition or degree.” And my condition was bleak. The pain in my body, a manifestation of my soul. The fear that rose to the surface: never becoming the woman I was meant to be.
I was lost in the debilitation of a suffering heart and I begged God to ease the aching. Some days I could not grip my pen, to write out the throbbing, the weakness of the nerve constricting my hand, reminding me I was not superwoman. Surely, the pain would die if I could only experience spring.
So this time last year I flew to Korea to escape the cave of winter.
Wandering the city, my friend and hostess led me across miles of pavement, lined with trees reaching their twig fingers up between skyscrapers and palaces. They weren’t trying to force their loveliness. They grew roots underground, expectant for their time. But we kept hoping and waiting for the blooms to ravish us with their splendor.
In a park we found a shrub that fooled us for a moment. I wrote out the lovely disappointment:
I wait for inspirations to come
In the night
Like the purple-sticked blossoms
Surprising our eyes
In palace garden,
The scent carrying us to thin, shrouded bows,
Unwrapping our defenses
As they revealed themselves
Undressed to the chill air and our hot breath,
Suffocating them. We only wanted to breathe in spring
One night we peered at the cityscape from a tall-windowed apartment. Tiny lights, red, yellow, and white dotted the view in dusk’s retreat. Standing there, I felt the evening’s peace creeping over us.
One or two cherry blossoms made their entrance in the corners of our landscape, a canvas, slowly bearing blots of color, almost like paint, purple-like in the dimness, barely bursting. Later I wrote in my journal:
“Until we give ourselves over to the adventure, we will never know the fullness of being in a place and letting it tell us what it needs to say.”
The blooms never came, really, not like we expected. My longing for perspective and resurrection came, but in long periods of rest and recovery, in Korea, and later at home.
It came in unexpected sickness and Sabbath rest, in surrendering to the journey of waiting and letting God love me in a season I didn’t understand fully.
Spring did not come shooting forth with answers to my suffering or next steps for my life. It made me wait.
Glory pink came to Seoul just days after I left, I am told. When I stepped into my yard back in Kansas, peony-like tulips dotted the shade garden. I realize now, a full year later, they are the same color as the lights we saw over the great Korean city: violet, crimson, gold, and snow. Tonight, one or two will open under the stars, emblems of God’s perfect time.
Christina Hubbard is an author and poet who shares about identity, worth, and the messy, amazing creative life. Her goal is to help others find God’s imagination in their own lives. She lives in Kansas with her husband and two kids. Her latest projects are Five Ways To Love Like You Mean It and the Dreamcatcher Series. Find her at: Creative & Free.