"Then the time came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." ~Anais Nin
This is one of my favorite quotes, but I don't remember how I stumbled across. I only know that it reverberated in my mind and heart and I realized it described me. But, first to discuss Anais Nin...
Apparently, this name conjured up images of a Buddhist monk wrapped in red cloth sitting cross legged on a stone floor surrounded by candles. Apparently, I was way off. According to Wikipedia: "Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell, February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977) was a French-Cuban author, based at first in France and later in the United States, who published her journals, which span more than 60 years, beginning when she was 11 years old and ending shortly before her death, her erotic literature, and short stories. A great deal of her work...was published posthumously." Not the Anais I had in mind, for this was a modern-day woman of European/Hispanic lineage with an exceptional name. Also, she published her journals, which encourages me to put pen to page and express my thoughts, for you never know if you'll be read or quoted in the future.
Ms. Nin was raised Roman Catholic, spoke English/Spanish/French (all three at one period in her life), wrote, and trained as a flamenco dancer. She confessed feeling challenged "to articulate feelings not easily expressed. Of my struggles to find a language for intuition, feeling, instincts which are, in themselves, elusive, subtle, and wordless”. Ms. Nin, you are my woman: an artist and thinker trapped in the expressions of the real and sometimes cold world.
Returning to the quote...
A few main words stand out to me in this quote: time, risk, bud, painful, blossom. The first concept, time, is very biblical. The Word admonishes us to number our days, and says there is a time for everything under the sun. Time is inevitable, a constant surging forward. It cannot be stopped or defeated, but one can choose to work with time not fight it, which, in my experience, leads to greater peace. Secondly, risk and pain are also inevitable. I suffer from what I call "analysis paralysis" in which I will over-analyze an issue into the ground, and over-think over-thinking. It's pretty bad. The key for me, though, is not to assume that risk leads to pain, though life is naturally full of pain. Risk can also lead to growth, love, and mile-stone experiences.
Blossoming is not inevitable; it is optional. As I once read, when faced with a sticky situation, you can 1) change your situation, 2) change your attitude about the situation, or 3)avoid/leave the situation. Remaining tight in one's cocoon, or "bud," fits into #3. Remaining a bud is only playing it safe for an indefinitely short time. At worst, a bud refuses to change or grow, and dies with no understanding of beauty such as rain, sun, and clouds. At best, a bud "blossoms," exuberant with desire to take on the world. But, there is no middle ground, just as there is no such thing as static in real life. A person's growth personally, spiritually, and relationally is either progressing forward, or falling backward. Standing still leads to stagnation, which leads to death.
But as believers walking in the will of the Lord, daily seeking His face and counsel, we have no need to fear the process of "blossoming," though it be risky. For He is the expert Gardener, and knows all His plants and their individual needs. There is a time for everything under the sun; nothing remains the same, so choices must be made.
As I've grown personally, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally, I've found this quote to be oh so true. In my college years, I finally began to learn bits and pieces of who "me" was. A tight bud for 18 years, I slowly began to blossom. I was bruised and the rains sometimes were scarce. But I persevered, and even grew to appreciate those experiences. To remain tight in a bud was to perish, but I chose to put down roots on a foundation of Truth and trust as I daily risked "blossoming." I've learned that no experience is a bad experience; every experience is worthwhile when walking with the Gardener, and that I would always choose to grow over regretting.
So when I come to life decisions, I think of my options, and realize I don't have options. Blossoming is my only hope to live life to the fullest. Blossoming for me meant risking heartache, trying new activities I may fail at, and embracing the unknown with the help of the One I knew. After going through hard times, I realized it really stunk, but, I wasn't going to run in fear of repeating them. Fear had paralyzed me for too long, and life with all its pain, was far too exciting to pass by.
I challenge you, then, my reader, to see your life not as a current point in time, but as a timeline. What do you want to look back on? Will you risk the process of bud to blossom?
Spending time with her Gardener,