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  • Writer's pictureKelly Neff

Fragrant Hyacinths ~ Symbols of Hope

Kelly Neff Speaks Tuesday Treasures Hyacinths 4-2-19
Photo: Kelly Neff

A dear friend of mine gave me a beautiful pink hyacinth a few weeks ago. It has begun to bloom and fill the room with its highly fragrant scent. She gave this flower to me as a visual reminder of spring and all that it symbolizes as I begin this new chapter in my life.

I love flowers and plants, but I have never had a hyacinth, so I did a little research to find out how to care for it properly. Besides learning the proper way to care for it, I also learned some other interesting facts. According to, in Roman Catholic tradition the hyacinth “is derived from the story of Hyacinthus, upon his death, the flower sprung forth.”

I also learned that hyacinth bulbs are poisonous and irritating to the skin because they contain oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is corrosive and excessive ingestion or prolonged skin contact can be dangerous. For this reason, protective gloves are recommended when handling the bulbs.

Given the loss of my son seven years ago and the loss of my husband last May, I could not ignore the symbolism I saw here. Whether you have experienced the death of a loved one, or any other painful event, loss and the grief it causes is much like the bulb of a hyacinth.

Grief has the potential to be poisonous and corrosive, if not handled carefully. When we allow the “bulbs” of negative thoughts to plant themselves firmly in our minds, they begin to eat away at our souls. The longer we allow them to stay, the more they divide and multiply. Those negative thoughts, like the hyacinth bulbs, can poison us with prolonged contact or excessive ingestion.

Hyacinths are associated with spring and rebirth. They are symbols of constancy and peace of mind. I believe they are also a symbol of hope. Hope is like wearing protective gloves, allowing you to handle the poisonous bulbs. Hope is something that can vanish quickly if you do not grip onto it tightly.

When trials and tragedies come upon us, they scream at us to let go of our hope. They yell at us saying that only a fool would still have hope. They ridicule and hurl insults like a bully to convince us that only those who are weak would continue to have hope. These are lies that seek to destroy us and our hope because they understand it is the substance that gives us courage and strength to move forward. They understand that with hope, we not only have the ability to move forward, but we also have the power to live a joy-filled life of purpose.

My hyacinth is growing in a vase called a forcing jar ( It holds the bulb above the water while giving the roots plenty of space to grow. This jar allows us to see the root system that is usually hidden beneath the surface of the ground.

To me, when I look at my flower as it sits in the neck of the forcing jar, I see a visual representation of faith. Just as the neck of the jar holds the flower above the water, faith is what our hope rests on. Faith is what allows us to hold on to our hope unswervingly. Faith holds us steady, near our source of water, which we must have to grow and to flourish.

I believe the most important thing this vase allows us to see is the root system that holds the plant in place. You see, a plant can grow and bloom with both water and light, but it is the root system that anchors it in the ground. It is a deep and wide root system that anchors us in place when the winds blow wildly throughout the storms of life.

My friends, we must water our faith and grow our root system in the One who sustains us. We must put on our protective gloves of hope, take a firm stand anchored by deep roots, and strongly resist the poisonous “bulbs” that seek to take root in the soil of our minds.

May you hold unswervingly to your hope and may you grow, blossom, and flourish, filling the air with a sweet fragrance dear one.


Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

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Kelly Neff
Kelly Neff
Apr 13, 2019

Thank you!💗


Apr 11, 2019

Beautifully written.

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