Growing Through the Cracks

yellow flower growing through crack in ground - ipopba/iStock/Getty Images

Have you ever felt as though, because of unsettling news or a traumatic incident, the ground you were on all of a sudden opened up and swallowed you into a chasm of desolation? The day I received my cancer diagnosis was such a day for me. Like many who have experienced this situation, I felt just about every emotion within me all at once: relief to finally have an answer, shock at the answer I was given, confusion, concern, and worry.

The next several days were a blur as I waited for an appointment with an oncologist. My prayers were answered when I was told that the cancer was treatable. With thanksgiving, I began to pull myself together and await the next step of this journey with much hope and grace.

But the feeling that I was sitting in a great big crack in my world was still there. I knew I was feeling sorry for myself and tried to talk myself out of those feelings. That didn’t work. I tried to climb my way up and out by distracting myself. In a week’s time I baked two cakes, muffins, two casseroles, and finished two jigsaw puzzles. The distractions didn’t work either.

Then one day I was walking in my neighborhood and came to a spot in the sidewalk that was uneven and cracked. I was about to step over it when I noticed several tiny flowers growing out of a crack in the concrete. I stood there, fixated on that scene for a while, just taking it in. I’d seen flowers growing out of cracks in the sidewalk many times before, but this time was different. This time God was inviting me to take notice. I took pictures of these floral heroes to use in prayer.

Everything the flowers needed was there.

While praying with those pictures, I realized how much I had in common with the blooms. The flowers were not in an ideal environment for growth. They were not in a pretty pot of well-drained soil, saturated with nutrients, but that little, cracked space was actually quite conducive to growth. Everything the flowers needed was there. God was providing for them. My cancer diagnosis left me sitting in a less-than-ideal situation, but God was providing for me, too, calling me to grow out of the desolation. The flowers were fed by rain, sun, and resilient roots. God was feeding me with spiritual fertilizers of prayer and sacraments, inviting me to grow in faith and trust. Prayer provided emotional and spiritual strength to get through the unknowns. The Eucharist and Anointing healed me spiritually and gave me courage to reject the temptation to stay in the dark place in which I was sitting. While in this cracked place in my life, I was being nourished with grace and growing closer to God.

The flowers are being what God made them to be and are making the best of a not-so-good situation. God is encouraging me to do the same, to be resilient and hopeful. Yes, life landed me in what felt like a concrete crevasse, but God is encouraging me to grow from it by showing me those flowers. As the flowers are given everything they need to grow there, I too am given all I need from God’s ever-present grace and love. I don’t have to pull myself out of the crack all by myself. God is there to help me with whatever I need. I just have to offer God an open heart and let God lead me out of the desolation and into a place of growth.

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Melinda LeBlanc is a spiritual director in the diocese of Baton Rouge, LA, where she offers individual direction, group direction, retreats, and prayer. She received her certification in Spiritual Direction from the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center in New Orleans and holds a Masters of Pastoral Studies degree from Loyola University. Melinda serves on the board of the Louisiana Association of Spiritual Directors. She considers it a blessing to be a part of others’ spiritual journeys and enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband Darrel and entertaining her two cats.


  1. Thanks Melinda for your powerful testimony. God is a far better organizer than any tiny organizers known to tiny mortals worldwide.

  2. Thanks for sharing this reflection and reminding me that God cares for me wherever I am. Praying for your recovery. Grace and blessings.

  3. Melinda,
    Thank you for this beautiful reflection offering light, love and hope. You offer how to notice blessings in times when disquiet and distraction seek attention. Blessings of healing, harmony, and health.
    Take care, Susan from Metairie!!!!

  4. Beautiful reflection and so spot on. You can and will do this! Being a two time cancer survivor myself I was nodding my head with everything you shared. I wish you peace, love, and strength with every step you take. Much love.♥️

  5. Thank you for sharing your reflection. What a grace God has given you to deal with a very difficult situation. I’m so glad that you found the flower growing in the crack and heard God’s voice as you reflected on that image. Prayers and blessings!

  6. Melinda,
    Prayers for your recovery.
    I’ve been amazed when I see flowers and plants growing in the cracks and hard places as you describe. My screensaver on my computer is of a 12 inch pink and gold Zinnia living in the crack between the concrete gutter and blacktop in front of our home.
    Your insight about God’s grace in “hard” times and places, so beautifully stated – is an inspiration. Thank you.


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