She was our mail lady, but most importantly, she was our friend. I don’t believe she had a single stranger along her daily route. And over the years, her deliveries went far beyond envelopes and packages to hugs, cheerful greetings, a handmade artisanal nativity, and one memorable day in late spring, wrinkled daffodil bulbs.
She poured the little brown bulbs, papery and dry like oversized onions, trustingly into our hands. They were bulbs from her own well-loved garden, descendants of flowers she’d carefully nurtured. Her eyes sparkled as she shared her treasure with us and told us how beautiful the blooms would be.
We sowed those bulbs across a grassy slope behind our house. And the flowers began to appear. Each year, those first pioneer daffodils spread out their underground roots and colonized areas of the hillside far from their original birthplace.
That initial gift of bulbs was given many years ago, but today, those daffodils are still one of the highlights of our spring. As the daylight lengthens and the gray-hanging clouds of winter begin to float away, I see the daffodils sprouting. Tender, verdant, they peer above the ground and stretch taller into a laughing springtime world. And the buds, heavy with promise, explode into a color and vibrancy that never fail to take my breath away.
There are the tiny sprigs of jonquils, their pointy flowers like so many stars. There are the stately King Alfred flowers, with creamy-soft petals and buttermilk centers. The ruffled ones open next—I don’t know their true name, but I recognize their lacy petals each year. And last of all, the grand finale. From buds that swing like golden lanterns come the breathtaking double-layered queens, with frilly flowers and a delightfully delicate scent.
After each winter, no matter how dreary or dark, those daffodils rise to greet me—always more abundant and beautiful than before. And when I look at those fluttering petals and proud green stalks, I smile. Each bloom, you see, is like the heart of the giver—open, generous, beautiful. And each flower is also a symbol of a simple act of kindness that still brings such joy to our lives.
In a world of mega and super and extra, everyday acts of kindness can seem so pitifully small. It’s not that we believe kindness doesn’t matter; we just feel as though it would have more impact enacted on a larger stage. But when I see those daffodils, I realize the truth I so often overlook—it is precisely in those humble moments that the Holy Spirit blows His gentle breath over this hurting world.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24 ESV). Not big works. Not glamorous works. Not jaw-dropping-breath-taking-wow! works. Just good works—works done as the hands and feet of Christ. Buying groceries for that new mom who’s overwhelmed. Sitting with a friend in the lonely waiting room. Helping a child with an art project…buying a coffee for someone in line behind you…praying for a waitress or cashier. It’s the small offerings like these that trickle into the cracks in our souls and soak our rough edges in grace.
For you see, your simple kindness may not be so simple. For the recipient, it may mark a moment of brightness in a very gloomy season or even a turning point in their entire outlook. It may be as perennial as the daffodils—a continual reminder of grace. Most importantly, it is seen by the Father, and He holds every gift of love, like a sweet-smelling daffodil, close to His heart.
About Ashlyn McKayla Ohm:
A passionate follower of Jesus Christ, Ashlyn McKayla Ohm finds her writing calling where her heart for God and her love for His creation intersect. Born and raised in rural Arkansas on the shoulders of the Ouachita Mountains, she’s most at home where the streetlights die and the pavement ends–roaming the woods, counting the stars, watching for wolves, and breathing the mountain air. When she’s not hiking, running, or writing about her adventures, you’re likely to find her reading, playing the piano, birdwatching, or praise dancing. She has two wonderful dogs–Mercy, her loyal Labrador Retriever, and Gailey, her sassy Jack Russell Terrier–as well as a condescending cat, Noah Japheth, who graciously allows her the privilege of serving him.
After being homeschooled from kindergarten through twelfth grade, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Central Baptist College. Today, she finds joy in weaving words into messages of hope and healing on a variety of platforms. She publishes bi-monthly posts on her devotional nature blog, Words from the Wilderness, and she has had the privilege of contributing inspirational short stories to the online magazine Short Fiction Break. She is also the author of A Year in the Woods: 52 Weeks of Growth, Grace, and the Glory of God, available for purchase now.
Ashlyn is forever grateful that God has given her the gift of not only exploring His beautiful world but also using her words to shout His praise and prayerfully draw others to Him.
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