GATHERING EVE: My Destiny is still Flourish


Meet Ms Cherry Blossom + the place of nothing + getting pulled over by a cop in Richmond  + a picture of Destiny.

By Idelette McVicker | Twitter: @idelette

Six years ago I had two babies in diapers. And a vast emptiness covered our urban backyard.

I wished to say the words: Let there be trees! And hoped for luscious trees to shoot up. Or: Let there be shrubs, and beautiful, perfectly-spaced shrubs would divinely appear. Or even: let there be colour. And daisies, nasturtiums and petunias would pop up their pretty little heads in divinely ordered beds.

This side of creation, it turned out, growing a garden takes time and I had to do the work.

Planting a tree

For some an empty lot with bare soil inspires creativity. For me, it meant research—buying the heaviest garden volume at Costco and pouring over it while nursing. I delved in to understand the climate zone and figure out what grows on this end of the world. [Learning curve: HUGE.] Then I had to make a decision—not on paper, where it’s easy—but in the midst of a nursery of trees with tiny botanical names wrapped in awkward places, big trolleys that bump through narrow aisles, a baby in a Björn and a limited budget.

I settled on a Japanese cherry blossom tree, a lilac tree and another shrub that I’ve long since lost both the tag and the name to.

We planted the tree. She was small to medium-sized and I had small to medium-sized expectations for her life. We dug a hole, put her in it and let nature take its course.

New beginnings

I’ve started from scratch at three different times in my life: at birth (naturally) growing a sense of self and personhood in South Africa; then in my twenties I enjoyed an urban-dwelling, career-exploring, globally stretched, finding-God life in Taiwan. And then the third and big leap to life, marriage and a different citizenship in Canada.

Third place

When Air Canada touched down in Vancouver, I had assumed many things, including that life would continue to hum along at the same pace and strength I had enjoyed in Taiwan.

Enter, however, a new beginning in a new country with a new husband and no friends or family.

It was my place of nothing. My bare, empty lot.

And the picture in my spirit was of a tree that had been chopped to the ground with only the stump left.

A little melodramatic? That’s kinda what I was thinking.

Those first years

Still I remember those first years. Struggling to build relationships—who really has time for a new friend?–learning where to shop for ordinary things like a pair of scissors and a decent pen. Making many mistakes in buying Christmas gifts for my new relatives.

Not having a hairdresser who understood my nuances? Painful. (I mourned my Mei-liang—friend, beloved hair stylist and inspired artist in Taipei.)

Then there’s driving

I remember getting lost time and time again in Richmond and finding myself some times in the the south parts of Vancouver. I think. (No Mapquest app then.)

I remember driving across the giant Alex Fraser bridge for the first time. Those giant lanes on the freeway with exits coming at you at 120km an hour and–heaven forbid–you drive any slower on the highway, because then you get those looks.

Fear breathed heavily right inside my chest. I prayed loudly right over it and drove right through it: the first time across that big bridge. The first time from Richmond to Langley. Every time I took a new route.

I remember being pulled over by the same cop in Richmond twice during my first six months here. Him likely thinking: she’s not keeping a consistent speed on the road, she’s weaving a bit … Gotcha! Me taking out my international drivers license, hoping it would explain some of how I am learning to drive on the other side of the road and how my body is still getting used to shifting gears with a different hand.

Sir, have mercy on me, a new immigrant.

He did. And the second time he pulled me over, he chuckled just a bit and then gave me a stern reprimand.

Truth is: two years into living here, I felt like a very tightly cropped version of me. (It’s never worked in a haircut; why would life be any different?)

Core strength

I had come out of a place of flourish. I had friends, fun work and life felt like adventure. Young girls wanted to take pictures with me on the street (not because I was anybody, but simply because I had blond hair (then) and was an oddity in an Asian city. I came out of a place where I had been validated by work, by close friends, by God. I thought I knew who I was and what I was meant to do on the earth.

Moving to the other side of the Pacific, forced me to question: Who am I really truly deeply at my core? Who am I when everything that’s shiny and sparkly gets stripped away? Was there enough strength to start again without flowers, branches or fruit?

God, really?

As I write this, I think about that stump picture again and I’m having a little conversation with God:

Really God, doesn’t “stump” sound just a tad melodramatic? Did I understand that picture correctly? Wasn’t I perhaps a young tree? You know, sapling would sound so much … nicer.

But I sense No. Stump it is. And here’s why: It’s a story of how God can take those places where we feel chopped down, fragmented, diminished, broken, robbed, stripped, hurt, scattered—how God can gather us back up, water, nurture and over time grow us back into a picture of flourish.

Six years after we placed Ms Cherry Blossom in good soil in the abundance of Vancouver rain, she is beautiful, strong and lush.

The kids jump wildly on the trampoline to try and reach her branches. She’s that tall.

She spreads wide. Her reach is expansive. Her blossoms are beautiful. Her fruit is still tender and young. Not quite ready to eat.

She speaks

Ms Cherry Blossom reminds me of what flourish looks like. She reminds me of the Life inside me.

She speaks to me of hope for new beginnings, even when that starting place is a stump. She speaks to me of our destiny … every one of us.

She speaks to me of Life that pushes up.

She tells me there’s a divinely DNA’d picture of flourish in each one of us … and that, sometimes, growth and finding our place in the garden just simply takes time.


Thank you for visiting, beautiful friend. I’d love to hear your thoughts:

  • When was your last new beginning?
  • Have you ever experienced a place of nothing? What did you learn there?
  • What is your favorite picture of flourish?

About Idelette:
Idelette is founding editor of She’s a bit intense, granted, but she’s getting to be really okay with it. She was born and raised in South Africa which shaped her longing for justice and freedom for everyone and a deep, deep love for Africa. She also worked in Taipei as journalist and discovered that Heaven might look like lingering over oohlong tea in the mountains of Chiufen. She moved to Vancouver, Canada in 1999. She is married to Scott, has three children and loves Sisterhood. She blogs at and tweets @idelette.