Bloom where you’re planted

Published 2:49 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2020

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What a wonderful few days I have had celebrating my grandson’s birthday on his leave from the Navy! As a sweet lady told me recently, “Several good things have happened while much of the world was going crazy with the pandemic.”

I agree with her take on the situation totally. One of the special things she mentioned was quality time with those we love. For several days three generations, plus pets, and some close friends relaxed at home cooking, eating and celebrating one of the greatest gifts that God has blessed us with, our family.

My grandson, Aidan, left this morning to visit his dad in Alabama with three women standing in the driveway waving as he drove away. His mother, his grandmother, and that other special lady in his life, his sweetheart, all standing together as if to make the moment last a little longer before his visit moved into the category of beautiful memory.

It amazes me how fast our children and grandchildren grow from those chubby cheeked cherubs into adults themselves. I don’t want to let a pandemic, or any storm of life take my focus from the people and things that matter most. There are so many absolutely wonderful things to cherish.

Today, my son and I are taking a drive to Cades Cove in hopes of getting some good nature shots. We have done this very thing since he was just a little boy, but up until our move to Newport it took us 10 hours to make the trip. Each time I go, I relive all the happy memories we have shared.

Usually when we visited the area we took in Dollywood, Gatlinburg, and always had to stop by the Old Mill. We visited many of the shows and shops along the parkway, but the things the kids talk about are not usually what we did or where we went. They remember the simple things that no amount of money can buy. They laugh at how excited they were to stay up later than their usual bedtime playing board games. Or they will mention how thrilling it was to hear a bear in our garbage can in the night.

Children and people in general, I think, thrive in the knowledge that their families love them and choose them. I think it feels something like being chosen to play on someone’s team. Nobody wants to feel like the last pick. People can bloom during the most challenging circumstances if they know they are loved.

In my daughter’s yard this morning as I watched my grandson drive away, I noticed a Rose of Sharon blooming profusely. The shrub was totally surrounded by a jungle of many different plants, all vying for the same nutrients, but this beauty showed her stuff. She bloomed no matter what.

I’m so thankful that God loves us all wherever we are, and whatever our circumstances. We can bloom even in a pandemic because of His great love.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at