September 12, 2019

One Late Bloomer Finds Her Season by Brenda Leyland



“Everything on earth has its own time and its own season.”
ECCLESIASTES 3:1

I must tell you about the bright yellow Rudbeckia flowers, or Black-Eyed-Susans, that grow in my garden every summer. This perennial plant pokes its green shoots through sun-warmed soil early in spring, but unlike tulips or daffodils, who waste no time sending out their flower buds, the Rudbeckia unhurriedly spends spring and summer developing sturdy stems and masses of glossy leaves, with nary a blossom in sight. Then in early August -- when peonies, lilacs and Siberian irises are history -- the Rudbeckia takes centre stage and bursts into flamboyant blossom. And it continues blooming until the frost comes.

Like my Rudbeckia, I am a late-in-the-season bloomer. Many of my friends and classmates after high school and college sprinted out of life's starting gate and got on with their lives -- finding mates, getting married, having kids, being homemakers, starting careers. It was my most cherished dream too, but I was in my forties before I met the wonderful man I would marry. And I was well past the fresh flush of youth before I ever dreamed of writing or attending my first writers' event. But having at last recognized I was forever composing sentences and creative paragraphs in my mind, I thought maybe I should write them down on paper.


“You don’t have to remind a flower
when its time to bloom is near;
it has been preparing for it all of its life.”
MATSHONA DHLIWAYO

Some people know they want to write from young and so they prepare as they grow. But for me, the desire and interest to write dawned much later. God knew I needed time to grow into the idea, and so my season of preparation matured gently through the summer of my life. I explored writing genres, developed writing skills, took classes, wrote articles, started a blog. It was all part of figuring out what was in my heart to share with others.

Then came my sixtieth birthday. Although astonished to have arrived at this decade so soon, I did not find myself lamenting my youth long spent. Rather, I embraced turning sixty in a way that completely surprised me. It felt as if I'd been waiting for this season all of my life, and I reached out to receive it like a gift. The time had come. In floral lingo, it was time to bloom.




From this vantage point, I looked back and saw two things I'd never seen before. One, because I preferred writing non-fiction and mostly from my own material, I saw that I had had to live my longish life before I was ready to write about it. Second, I needed the time and distance to see how God’s faithfulness, loving guidance, and grace had umbrella-ed everything that had ever happened to me. I could see that even my day job in the Alberta Legislature for over twenty years had been part of the preparation -- I developed my writing skills on the job.

One phrase overshadowed my thoughts during that milestone year. "Gather the memories." I began curating my personal history, organizing the motley collection of photos, journals, yearbooks, scrapbooks, and various touchstone keepsakes. As long forgotten memories floated up, I wrote them down. I created an autobiographical timeline as a reference which included recording many of the beautiful, life-changing God moments I had experienced over the years. And that Fall, I self-published a magazine through Blurb that housed my simple but cherished childhood Christmas memories. Talk about being totally amazed when strangers wrote to say they loved the stories and please would I publish more. Music to any writer's ears.




As a girl, I watched my parents working into the late hours when the days were ripe to harvest grain and garden provender. Less needful things had to be set aside. There was no time to lose. The frost was coming. That's how I feel about the season I'm in. There is an increasing sense of urgency. I'm not getting any younger and the days do fly by. Other authors reach sixty and already have a legacy of writings to their credit, but much of my work is ahead of me. I have been given my place from which to write. It's taken me a lifetime to get here. Let me get on with it and not waste a moment.

As I work away, I often whisper a prayer: Oh Lord, keep me near to your heart, so my words are written with Love. Quicken my body and sharpen my mind so I can finish what I'm supposed to. Take these 'breathings of my heart' to bless others, in this generation and maybe even in future ones.

I embrace being a writer in this late summer-early autumn season of my life. Filled with gratitude and joy, my heart sings and I do feel His pleasure when I write.



A long-time InScribe member, Brenda Leyland writes from her home in Alberta, Canada. She has been a columnist and contributor in the FellowScript magazine. She sees herself as a curator of memories and works away at various memoir projects. Inspired by beauty, Brenda also takes joy in blogging at It's A Beautiful Life and posting on Facebook.



28 comments:

  1. As I read, I'm reminded of the Teacher in Ecclesiastes saying, To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose. Lovely thoughts, Brenda, on blooming in your season! You have a wonderful way of finding the essence of what you want to say and then saying it with eloquence!

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  2. Thank you for this encouraging post for those who are late-bloomers and those of us who have late-bloomers dear to our hearts. God is continuing to work in the soil, preparing them to be part of His beautiful garden.

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    1. Thank goodness for those late bloomers who carry the season into fall, both in gardening and in writing. So often, we think of 'late' as doing something after the expected, proper, or usual time. It's usually seen as a negative, 'you're late, behind schedule, not on time. But flowers destined to blossom later in the season aren't that kind of late. Now that changes everything which, as you say, is encouraging for those of us who are late bloomers in His beautiful garden.

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  3. I do love your 'voice' Brenda. You have such an eloquent way of expressing yourself. I am so glad that you still grace us occasionally with your posts here at the IWO blog. You are truly an inspiration and such a wonderful mentor!

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    1. Appreciate your encouraging words, Tracy. Thank you!

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  4. Thank you for your words, Brenda. I guess I'm a member of the late-bloomers club as well. I hope you continue to write and remind us of how great it is to live and have the mind of a writer. :) Blessings to you, my friend. :)

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    1. Haha, Alan, I think that late-bloomers club is bigger than we think. It's an honour to share this late-blooming season with fellow writers such as yourself. Thank you for your good wishes.

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  5. So beautiful! I hear you heart speaking!!

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    1. Thank you, Mom, from the bottom of my heart! xox

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  6. This is wonderful, Brenda! When it comes to writing, I'm a late bloomer, too. This is very likely my last year of teaching because although I love it, there are other things calling my heart. One of them is writing our story of our years in Ecuador, something my children have asked me to do.
    Embracing the season I'm in is sometimes difficult, because I have to let go of something in order to embrace another.
    I always love your insights.

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    1. Thank you, Lorrie! Yes, letting go in order to embrace something new is not always easy, even if it's something a person desires or needs to do. I'm excited for you as I think of you writing about your years in Ecuador, and I wish you well in these new ventures calling your heart.

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  7. What a beautiful post Brenda, and I am also a fan of the brown eyed Susan! The pictures are excellent. Your writer's prayer speaks to me-may the 'breathings of our hearts' be sent out to bless. Thank you for this.

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    1. Thank you, Jocelyn, for your lovely comment! Glad to meet another fan of those sprightly Brown-eyed-Susans. They are such cheerful garden companions.

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  8. Brenda,
    It's delightful to see you blooming! Love and hugs :)

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  9. Another beautifully written post, Brenda! Thank you for expressing things that I can't articulate.

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  10. Beautifully written, dear Brenda! Being a late bloomer does have its advantages, doesn't it? Just like the late blooming flowers, you have been growing, gathering wisdom from life experiences, and when God nudged you, you bloomed. Now we all reap the benefits of the beauty which flows from your heart onto a blog or any other means by which you share. Thank you! Joy to you...Sandi

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    1. Oh yes, Sandi, especially now that I see that being a late bloomer doesn't mean being late to the party. It's just a different timing for many folks. Thank you so much for your lovely words. xox

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  11. This is wonderful inspiration for anyone who finds that time has passed and there is unfinished business at hand. Happy writing, Brenda!

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    1. Vee, I think we're such a blessed generation to live in a time when growing older means we can use this season of life to fulfill those dreams that perhaps were dormant in our younger years and using the time to wrap up unfinished business.

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  12. Brenda, I have long admired your 'way with words.' I find myself on the cusp of a new season in life, and as I pray and ponder what God may have for me in the new season, I see a hint of it perhaps. Your words have filled me with encouragement.

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    1. Awww, thank you Deanna! Your words touch my heart. And I do pray as the days unfold those hints will become clear signposts. I feel the excitement as you stand tippy-toe on the cusp of this new season, looking for glimpses of what dear things He has in store for you. Blessings for clarity as you ponder and pray. xox

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  13. Brenda your words are so tender and always speak to my heart...God has certainly given you a great gift and it is wonderful to see you are using it for His glory. Hugs!

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    1. Debbie, you are always a blessing to me. Thank you for your beautiful words. Blessings back at you! xox

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  14. Thanks, Brenda, for always sharing the brighter side of life. You are younger than I am, but you are ahead in your curating and your plan. Your writing inspires. I appreciate your thought and prayer, expressed as follows.

    "As I work away, I often whisper a prayer: Oh Lord, keep me near to your heart, so my words are written with Love. Quicken my body and sharpen my mind so I can finish what I'm supposed to. Take these 'breathings of my heart' to bless others, in this generation and maybe even in future ones.”

    Amen and thanks.

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  15. Sharon, let's pray that prayer for each other, shall we? Quicken our bodies, sharpen our minds, take these 'breathings of our hearts' to bless others.

    I'm so grateful for that phrase William Wordsworth gave us. He really does capture it when he says, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

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