Bloom where you are planted

I want to say “Happy spring” but I am beginning to think that we do not have a spring in New England any more. We seem to have winter, then fall, then summer, then back to fall. However, we are technically in the season of spring so, Happy spring!

I love spring and fall even though I am allergic to both of them. I love the color changes of fall, the crisp air and the need for sweatshirts after the uncomfortable heat of summer. Then, after the cold and dead of winter, I love the new life that spring brings. I love seeing the trees bud to life, hearing the chirping of the birds that have returned from the trips to warmer weather, and the blossoming of new flowers. Despite being a first-degree plant murderer, I love the smell and look of new flowers in bloom. It is such a reminder of the Paschal Mystery.  Though we have the suffering and death of winter, spring reminds us that Christ can make all things new through His defeating of death. We can be made new and bloom into something beautiful.

Flowers can bloom anywhere. Sometimes they are in pretty gardens and sometimes they are stuck in the crack that develops in the concrete sidewalk. Flowers are not given a choice where they bloom. I often feel bad for the ones that are given to me because they are doomed by my black thumb of death. We, too, do not always get to choose where we are planted. Sometimes we are stuck in the middle of the crack in the concrete and other times we are planted in a beautiful garden, and sometimes we are in these places all in the same week.

One of my favorite inspirational quotes is, “Bloom where you are planted.” I have this quote hanging on my dining room wall. It is a constant reminder to me that I need to be an image of Christ’s saving love no matter where I am. We may have big dreams to be a famous singer, athlete, or artist or even a national speaker, and maybe our time has not come yet, or maybe it may never come. Just because we are not where we want to be does not mean we are not where we are supposed to be. Wherever we are, we are called to bloom where we are planted.

Like most people in my generation, when faced with exactly what something means, I typed “bloom where you are planted” into Google. I was surprised to find out there was an entire WikiHow page dedicated to how we can bloom where we are planted. First it defined “bloom where you are planted” as “a person should take advantage of the opportunities they have in their life and be grateful for the present situation.” I really like this description. Just because you may be planted somewhere you did not necessarily choose does not mean you have to be miserable and unproductive. We need to take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to us and be thankful for what we do have. Even if we are planted in the crack in the concrete, it is better than being planted under the concrete and never getting the chance to bloom.

Whenever I have a blank piece of paper and crayons, I always draw a flower and write that quote. It has a good deal to do with the fact that I cannot draw anything besides a flower but also as a reminder to anyone who will see it. St. Paul reminds of the same thing. In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul writes, “Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called” (1 Cor 7:20). In a sense, St. Paul was the first to remind us that we need to bloom where we are planted. He reminds us that wherever God calls us, we are called to be who He created us to be. 

Whether we are at school, at work, in the grocery store, in a job we hate, in a class that we do not understand, or with strangers, we are called to be the person God formed us to be. Just because a flower may grow between the broken concrete of a sidewalk, it does not make it any less beautiful. As a matter of fact, that flower can add beauty to what otherwise would have been seen as another flaw. That is what we are called to do; to make our world more beautiful by being the person that God called us to be no matter where we may be. Our dignity and worth are not changed by our surroundings. When we bloom where we are planted, we make our world more beautiful and we allow the love of God to reach into even the cracks in our foundation. Happy “spring.”

Anchor columnist Amanda Tarantelli has been a campus minister at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth since 2005. She is married, a die-hard sports fan, and resides in Cranston, R.I. She can be reached at atarantelli@bishopstang.org.


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