Waiting on our hydrangea and learning a lesson in patience

What is it about hydrangeas? I can’t say they’re my favorite flowers because I’ve said that about azaleas and forsythia and roses and tulips, and I’m obviously very fickle.

But we did have hydrangeas on the tables at our wedding, lovely blue blossoms I cut from the bush in my parents’ yard and inserted into dollar-store vases.

So ever since we moved into our house almost four years ago, I’ve been rooting for the hydrangea bush the former owners planted here. And it hasn’t really performed.

Year after year we looked for blooms, and there was nothing.

We watered—or, I should say, my husband watered—and we waited. Last year we finally saw a few blooms on the bush.

Then this year? This year it’s a legitimate hydrangea. Every time I look at it, I am struck by how colorful the flowers are, how delicate the petals are, how lush and green our hydrangea bush is.

If you saw our hydrangea, though, you wouldn’t know how long we waited for it to bloom. You would never guess that there were years it almost didn’t seem worth letting this sad little bush take up space in the yard.

All you would see is a vibrant flowering bush.

It’s an important reminder for me that time can fix situations. We could not have done anything more for the hydrangea. We just needed to give it a few seasons to come to life. We just had to wait.

This is an especially good lesson for me because patience is not my strength.

I would rather be working or doing or calling in an expert or pulling an all-nighter to address a problem. I have to accept that sometimes I am not part of a solution. Sometimes I just need to let God do His work in quiet ways I cannot see. Sometimes all I need is to wait and trust.

And maybe that, more than the beautiful hydrangea, is what I am most grateful to find in my yard on this gorgeous day.

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Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.