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  • Terri Ruhter

Brave Little Things

by Terri Ruhter

The crocus pushes itself up through

Near-frozen ground,

Purple petals blossoming bravely,

Telling us that winter will end,

Spring will come,

And life will go on.

It doesn’t ask –

Why am I so small

Compared to the other irises in my family?

It doesn’t wonder –

Why do I flower in spring

When my cousins, whose stigmas make saffron,

Bloom in fall?

Like the crocus, we too

Are brave little things.

Most days on this broken earth

We do some small act or another

To right the world.

Reaching out to the lonely,

Feeding the hungry

Caring for the hurting,

Standing up against injustice,

Speaking out in truth and love.

But we are easily disheartened

When our efforts don’t bear fruit.

Our egos insist that we keep trying

To make a difference,

That we measure success

By progress, that if we

Do X or give X, then surely

The desired Y will happen.

And if it doesn’t, if we aren’t rewarded,

Then we have somehow failed.

Yet the crocus, harbinger of new life,

Doesn’t doubt itself or look for praise.

Like Teddy Roosevelt, it is wise,

Knowing that comparison

Is the thief of joy.

The flower just does

What it can, when it can,

Confident its colorful spring debut

Is a symbol of hope.

Why can’t we be the same?

Take a lesson from this humble flower,

Take the longer view, be assured

Whatever brave, small thing you do

Is like the one musical note that follows

A dissonant chord,

Resolving the discordant sound

Into a beautiful harmony

That only God can hear.

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