(Written Thursday, March 7, 2019)
Can I geek out about something other than bees for today’s post?
Ok, thanks! As I look around my office, I’ve accumulated a number of houseplants over the past several months. They will be the basis of…
Recently, I’ve read that there’s a good reason older people enjoy tending to plants (whether indoors or outdoors), and it has to do with control.
Seniors gradually experience more health challenges, lessened mobility, or family members who live far away or who visit less often. Often, they can’t control these things and it can diminish their happiness.
Plants, however, give them a measure of control. They see something that needs them, they intervene, and can see the results; something living and thriving and, seasonally, something that blossoms.
During the fall months, a number of things felt out of our control – from finances to ministry. Whether consciously or unconsciously, I added a few extra plants to my office. Was I looking for that sense of control… perhaps.
Either way, my plants taught me something:
- Pilea Peperomioides: This is the plant featured in the photo below. It’s also been called “the missionary plant” (appropriate) and “the friendship plant” mainly because it shoots out baby plants (called “pups”) from the base forming, in the wild, an extensive mat or covering. It is very sensitive to the light and quickly leans toward a bright window, meaning it has to be slightly rotated daily otherwise the stem develops a permanent lean and it’ll not be balanced. Pilea reminded me to “lean toward the light” of the Lord, to stay balanced and to try to multiply myself along the way (by investing in others).
- Rubber Tree: This plant is a bit of a monster (but also a rescue). Someone we know wanted to rehome it and at the time, it was just a long, straggly thing over 6′ tall and with two tall stems. It was hanging on… but not much more than that. I took one stem down to the soil level, cut it in three portions and proceeded to root them. For the other stem, I simply continued pinching the tip to induce branching. It’s still a bit of an awkward looking thing, but I now have 9 branches and three separate plants. Rubber tree reminded me that the process of pruning – removal – may be difficult, but we can grown stronger and extend our reach as a result of it. That’s a good lesson to learn.
- Hoya Plant: You’ve heard me talk about my hoya plant before. My grandmother had one in her south facing window from the time I was a kid. When in blossom, it exuded a wonderfully heady sweet fragrance around 10:00pm each night when dew-drops of sweet nectar would gather in the center of the downward facing blossoms. I always had one in the house until we came to France, but when we were home last summer, I rooted some cuttings of the one we left with mom and brought them back. They grew a couple extra leaves last summer, but had done absolutely nothing since. I was worried. I held onto hope that it was just a seasonal thing; that something would change as the days grew longer. My patience paid off… this week I noticed that both plants were (finally) putting out new leaf stems. Hoya reminded me that sometimes, seasons that seem devoid of growth are just that… seasons. As sure as the seasons change, so too do seemingly unproductive seasons in our life give way to new growth at just the right time… the time the Lord establishes.
(Wondering why the #3GoodThings posts… click here)