Last week, my dad got pretty sick very quickly. It felt like one of those “rally ’round the family” moments, so I drove to Georgetown (a small town near Austin) when I finished work on Thursday night. It was a contemplative, nighttime, three-hour drive, all by myself. I got there and spent two days with my brother and sister, shuttling back and forth between the hospital and my brother’s house. Eventually, dad was improving so I was able to drive home a couple of days later, but this time during the afternoon.
On that drive home, as I drove the somewhat scenic drive, I realized there were bluebonnets. For those don’t know, bluebonnets are the state flower of Texas. In the spring, if you’re in the hill country (which is the area around Austin), you will see fields full of bluebonnets, which appear as a blanket of soft blue on the rolling hills. This sight is very evocative of my childhood, as I spent part of my formative years in this part of the state. The sweet smell, when you stand in the middle of a field of bluebonnets, is so distinctive.
When you start to see the bluebonnets emerging on the sides of the highways and in the roadside fields, it’s such a fresh reminder that winter is ending, spring is coming, and all things will be fresh and new again. Seeing these first bluebonnets of the season was surprising because I hadn’t seen them on the drive up. Of course, then I thought, “well, yeah, you don’t see bluebonnets at night.” As I thought about this, it made me realize that there was surely a metaphor in this idea.
What I realized was that, when I have clients who are in the depths of anxiety or depression, they often have a hard time seeing the positive things that are going on in their lives. In the “night” of those moods, they can’t see the good things (the bluebonnets). Like the nighttime bluebonnets, those good things are there, just as beautiful and plentiful, you just can’t see them. What it takes, is to wait for the darkness to pass, or work to push through the darkness, then we can start to see the positives.
The effort comes in having the patience and perseverance to push through until the dawn. Then you are able to enjoy the springtime revival. If you know someone suffering from depression or anxiety, help encourage them by helping them figure out what they need to do to push through and get to the morning. You can also help them see the positive things that they are missing until they can see them for themselves.
(Photos courtesy of my uncle, Richard Craig.)