Lessons from the Hyacinth
3/11/2018 9:06:00 PM by: Susan Lyttek

In November, I received two bulbs and an hourglass vase in the mail along with a set of instructions. For instance, “Bloom time for your Hyacinths are 8-10 weeks after planting.” And “It is important to change the water frequently.” And a full page of other pointers. If you follow this step by step, it said, you will see these hyacinth bulbs flower indoors.

Following directions to the T has never been my tendency. I’ve always liked to wing it (try getting stuff done without directions) or to follow only the directions that make sense to me. But I wanted to give one of the flowers to a friend, so I bit back my creatively rebellious streak and started with step one.

It was annoying at first. During the initial days, I had to change the water and charcoal pellets repeatedly to keep the bulb from molding. Finally, it established some roots and I could rest a bit because it told me to wait. I needed the roots to fill the vase and the sprout just began to show before I transferred it to a dark place. If there was a way I could have hurried it, I would have. For a week or more, it just grew roots. I knew I had to see a touch of green on top before I could take the next step. I was getting frustrated because I had hoped it would grow faster than advertised so that I could give it to my friend for Christmas.

No such luck. In fact, it was right around Christmas when I could see a touch of green and knew it was time to move the bulbs to a cool dark place until the shoots reached two inches tall. Perhaps the temperature of the garage would mimic spring, I thought, and finally speed things up.


It wasn’t that the plants didn’t like their location, but they kept growing much slower than the “8-10 weeks” in the original instructions. Finally, in mid-February, I could bring them inside.

Once indoors, they had to be out of direct sun, but somewhere warm. It only took a couple of days for them to grow noticeably. And in less than a week, I could breathe the heady fragrance of the blossoms and admire the lilac-colored clusters.

It was a long process, but by following the instructions the bulb did what it was supposed to. I ended up with something pretty to give to my friend instead of rotten bulb to throw away.

I don’t like following directions. I still don’t. But there are times, I’m learning, that the tried and true method of expert instruction works best. Maybe, just maybe, since God is the expert on all things human, His ways might work best as well?

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