HOW TO SURVIVE GETTING BURIED ALIVE
I’ve shared a lot about my transition from Seattle, Washington to Fort Collins, Colorado about a year ago a lot. I’m almost tired of myself for writing about it again — but the lessons keep coming, and I’d keep them to myself but I’m really trying to be less selfish.
So, here’s another.
…Because we all know that suffering isn’t for our benefit but for the benefit of another (…a blog post for another day).
The moment I had heard from God clearly to “plant roots” in Colorado — to pick up and move — I started telling my close friends and family. I knew that if I had kept it a secret, I would have denied it, and stayed comfortable in my home and community and friend group. I knew better than that, though, and was quick to reveal God’s word for the sake of accountability, encouragement, and confirmation.
I wasted no time. I heard His voice over a solo brunch (it was a Saturday tradition), and called my mom on the way home to let her know. I brought my roommates in, to pray for me and to ask for wisdom and clarity.
Caitlynn, a friend, roommate, and incredibly powerful woman of God, received a picture for me: God was digging up a potted plant — fingernails dirty, knuckles scratched — in order to replant it in a pot with a greater diameter. (I hardly know anything about greenery, but I do know that in order for a plant to keep growing, it has to be repotted every so often so its roots can continue to grow in length and depth and breadth.)
Immediately, I was thrilled.
“ALL RIGHT! It’s my time to shine, baby! I’m about to stretch my roots…I’ll have an amazing community, friend group, work life. And, of course, an incredible man is there right now, waiting for me to show up to swoop me off my feet.” Thinking back to that moment is almost laughable. I’ve talked about my naiveté, right..?
In that moment, I heard what I wanted to hear, and nothing more: that I would have room to grow and expand and become stronger, more deeply rooted in the Word of God.
What I failed to realize was that, in order to be replanted, I would need to be buried alive all over again. (My family’s move to Seattle at 15 years old was the first planting — and there were plenty of little transitions and repositionings sprinkled throughout those 10 years as a Seattleite, between moving into a sorority house at the University of Washington and then from house to house upon graduation, as many new graduates do).
And, — not that you’ll be surprised to read this — being buried alive is uncomfortable, to say the very least. It’s hard. And it’s pretty damn terrifying.
It’s also cold, it’s dark, it’s lonely. I felt very invisible — and, at nearly six feet tall, that’s not something I am familiar with. Only in hindsight am I learning that I was, in fact, invisible — a planted seed cannot be seen by anyone, and only the Gardener knows where He’s buried His treasure.
I was too overwhelmed with loneliness, and too blind in the dark, to see it, but God hadn’t forgotten me or left me to wither, but He had, in fact, planted me. How could I have overlooked this part of the process and skip right to the blossoming? (Again, plants are not my forte. But, of course, I know that a seedling requires tender care by the Gardener in order to ever see the light of day.)
What’s beautiful is that, in a conversation that has come around full circle, I hadn’t realized this until my Fort Collins roommate (another beautifully strong and powerful woman of God) reminded me that the only way a plant can blossom is if it is first planted (or, according to the analogy here, buried alive). Being planted is the prerequisite for blossoming…and there’s no way around it.
Here’s my encouragement to you, my reader. If you feel like you’ve been buried alive — like maybe you’re invisible, or lonely, or like you’re suffocating underneath an overwhelming darkness — good. You are not forgotten, you are not stuck, you are not alone. Even the “darkness is as light” to God, and He is there with you, waiting to rise up and break soil — just as plants do — in a perfect season, as God “makes everything beautiful in its time.”
As we all know, hindsight is 20/20. When I heard that God would be planting me, I certainly had a lot in mind about what that would look like. But, of course, He had something else in mind. Though I can’t say I would have chosen to be buried alive, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. If God wants to uproot me, to replant me, to see me blossom, then who am I to get in His way? He’ll do it, and He’ll do it His way, and I’ll be so much better for it (and maybe even, eventually, a little less naive).
As always, He did exactly what He promised He’d do. And, as always, He really does know best. Here’s to seeing the light again, and believing that a pretty spring blossoming is right around the corner.
*clinks glass* *flips hair*