Today, the day after Easter, my husband and I had a mission: we wanted to find bluebonnets. Bluebonnets are the Texas state flower; I have seen pictures of enormous fields of them, but had never seen an actual field of bluebonnets.
For the last couple of weeks that was one of the main topics of conversation. "You have to see the bluebonnets!" "Have you gone to see the bluebonnets?" It was Lent, and then Holy Week, and I had not taken time to go and try to find bluebonnets, but I knew that I wanted to take the time as soon as I got through the Easter services.
People gave me some ideas and suggestions about where to look, but they also assured me that it would be easy for us. "Just drive west and they are all over the place!" they said. So that is what we did, this morning. We drove west, toward a beautiful historic town just over an hour away, and we kept our eyes peeled all along the highway, searching for bluebonnets.
We found some pretty impressive bright orange flowers (which I discovered later were Indian paintbrush.) There were some bright yellow flowers too -- whole field of them. But I was not terribly interested in those. There were some delicate pink flowers, and there were some occasional dots of purple. But where were those enormous fields that I had heard about? Were they legends? Was this a bad year for bluebonnets? (I had heard that some years were not as impressive as others.)
We had been driving around for awhile, and I was about to give up. We actually stopped in an Antique store in town and asked about where to go to see them. The owner said she didn't know, except that there was a very small clump on the corner of her property. It was not what we had been expecting.
We turned around and were about to head home when my husband shouted, "There they are!" Our first clue was that there were two other cars stopped along the highway. There were two women who were taking pictures of each other sitting in the bluebonnets. They spoke Chinese. Three other people with British accents wandered around taking pictures as well. Bluebonnets are an international phenomenon.
I was about to give up, and there they were. Not an enormous field, but beautiful enough.
I am thinking about the empty tomb, and Jesus standing in front of Mary Magdalene. She had given up, and then suddenly, there he is, standing there, alive, the most impossible thing to happen.
I am also thinking about all of the heavy news of the world, the terror in Brussels and in Pakistan, none of which can be fixed by seeing a field of bluebonnets, and by taking pictures of yourself standing among them. Bluebonnets can't do anything but remind you that beauty is in the world.
They can also remind me not to give up. Keep going. Keep doing good. Keep living as if the promise is true, as if Jesus is risen and the power of unending love will finally triumph. Keep standing up for the weak and the hungry and the stranger.
Don't give up. I may not recognize him, but Jesus is standing right in front of me. Fields of bluebonnets are just around the corner.