When Something is “Mostly Dead”

My girls had their annual dance recital this month, and their sweet daddy bought them both a bouquet of tulips. The flowers were in water, but being in the hot car for hours caused them to wilt. By the end of the long day, I had no hope of their recovery.

My husband, though—he had hope. He made me think of The Princess Bride when Wesley is declared not dead, but only “mostly dead.” My girls’ father had full belief that the tulips were only mostly dead, and therefore, a little bit alive. He sought to resuscitate them, carefully giving them cooler air, fresh water, and a proper place to rest their weary petals. I thought he was crazy what with the trouble he took to prop up a cutting board and angle a vase and stack things on the counter to give the tulips a safe place to recover. I felt sure the tulips’ short lives were already over.

I’ve talked to a lot of people for whom these tulips could paint a picture. Maybe there’s a relationship with someone you love that is so strained and difficult, you feel like it’s completely dead. Maybe there’s a dream inside you and it has not yet come to pass, and so you resign yourself to its unfulfilled death. Perhaps you feel empty, hollow, scraping for purpose and meaning and belonging and love in an increasingly divisive and anxiety-ridden world, and you feel empty of all life in the depth of your soul.

Sometimes relationships fall away and sometimes we have to let go of dreams. But sometimes those things are really only mostly dead. Perhaps they are actually a little bit alive. Perhaps we need someone with hope who knows how to position us to heal, to find nourishment, to rest, to come alive again.

The Great Redeemer came to bring the dead to life, to bring reconciliation to division, to offer His living water and nurse the wounded petals back to full and glorious blooms. In Him, we have hope. Always.

After a day of tender care by a father and with stems bathed in cool, life-giving water, my daughters’ tulips came back to life. They are proudly displayed in the dining room, a testament not only to beautiful dancers, but also to a father’s hope and love and care.

As Father’s Day approaches, think about God’s unfailing, gracious love. Think about how much He wants to bring the good things in our life that seem dead back to life in Him. We can trust Him with the most delicate of petals, of heart strings, of relationships, of dreams, of insecurities. He will gently nurse us back to life. He will gently lead us in the way that is everlasting. Allow yourself to lie in the arms of the Heavenly Father and submit to His ways and see how His love transforms the “mostly dead” to “fully alive.” Our new life will testify of the Father’s love for us. It is His delight to watch us live in Him, because of His touch, dependent on His care, in awe of His love.


God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages, he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:4-7

But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.         

John 4:14


One Comment

  1. Susan Barnes Werley says:

    Such important words and timely. Thanks dear, sweet, wise friend.



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