Brave Little Things
by Terri Ruhter
The crocus pushes itself up through
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.