On Sunday I potted tulips in our front room - hoping to welcome spring into our house a little sooner. Historically, I've not had much of a green thumb so I read the instructions carefully: place in a room with direct sunlight. Do not allow tulips to stand in water or dry out completely.
I read the instructions a few times to make sure I had it right. They sounded a little temperamental and I wanted to make sure I didn't subject them to a drought of any kind.
This morning I walked out of my bedroom into the dimly lit house and something caught my eye; overnight the tulips opened up. They'd become red, beautiful flowers - filling our house with warm spring vibes.
Watching the shift overnight got me thinking about what it takes for us to open up. A friend and I were talking this weekend about how vulnerability is easily one of the hardest parts of adulthood. It is scary to let someone into your heart - to open up and let them see what's inside.
As I've gotten older, I've come to learn, though, that I never regret it when I am vulnerable. It is a leap of faith, but I am rarely sorry when I take it. I'm like the tulips; the conditions have to be just right and I can be a little temperamental. But it is always worth it.
Sometimes I think we hold our burdens too closely to our chests - we squeeze them tightly against us with the hope that no one will see that we are fighting; that we aren't perfect. But what if we loosened our grip? What if we held our arms out - opened up to the people around us, who love us, instead of carrying them all ourselves?
I don't know what your carrying today. Maybe you're living a life of performing and earning. Maybe you are not letting people see your hurts and truths. Maybe you are hiding behind a veil of perfection, because your burdens seem too big to share.
But even without knowing what you are carrying, I know that our troubles need to be aired out - not closed in. Things can seem big and scary in the dark, but when we shine light on them, they often become much smaller. And when we open up and let people see the real, honest versions of ourselves, we allow ourselves to shine and grow. And that is really beautiful.