Orchids Are Easy

I am horrible with plants. I do not have a green thumb. It is kind of disappointing because I come from a long line of farmers and gardeners. I live in my grandparents’ old house. It is surrounded by the remains of their years of faithful gardening. I can remember this home being surrounded by beds of beautiful roses. I can remember the house being surrounded by lilies, daisies, and hibiscus. Gladiolas and hydrangeas were plentiful. My grandfather grew almost every kind of vegetable and many fruits as well. Field after field held rows and patches of beans, potatoes, corn, peanuts and so much more. My father is a wonderful gardener. Every year around May I begin to dream about the squash and tomatoes that will be arriving from his garden. Even my mom has flowers all around their house. I seem to only be able to grow a messy house. I enjoy the thought of helping something to grow and produce flowers or food. I have made many attempts and I just have never been successful. I could recount my many attempts at herbs, flowers, and even a garden once but everyone ends in failure.
On my birthday last year, a sweet friend brought me a beautiful present, an orchid. It was so perfect with its magenta blossoms and arching layers of green leaves. I had always wanted an orchid but they are so exotic and I just assumed that their care would be tremendously complicated. So as my friend hands me her generous gift I am just mentally apologizing to the poor plant. Here someone had grown it into a tall and beautiful flower and it now was being given to the worst caretaker. I said thank you and hoped my apprehension didn’t show on my face.
I was determined though to keep this flower alive. The card that came along with it said “Orchids are Easy” and listed three simple steps to take care of my orchid. I was very skeptical about the ease of maintaining such a fragile looking plant. However, I managed to keep my plant alive for several months. It survived the cat knocking it into the sink and other such perils of living in my home. I am sure it was not always watered in a timely manner, but I really worked at tending my plant.
We had to go away for a week. I neglected to ask my mom to water the plant. I just assumed she would when she came to care for the cat. I had confidence that she has plant growing skills and that its care would be instinctual to her. When I returned home, all of the flowers were withering and slowly dropping off of the stem. I tried to water it. The leaves were still green but there were now flowers, just a woody stem. I am ashamed to say that I was kind of devastated that I had killed another plant. (I think at this point that maybe I had attached a little bit of my validation to the plant’s survival.) I didn’t know what to do to help my orchid. But I kept caring for it. I figured the green leaves had to mean something was still alive there.
Months have passed and I have started to notice new leaves coming out and new runners sprouting and growing. I am beside myself. And to my amazement, a new stem has sprouted off of the old one. Buds are appearing and new flowers are on the way. I showed it to my husband it utter shock and excitement. Even in places where it looked like the plant had died, new life seems to be emerging. Beautiful green runners and a purple stem are growing so quickly now.
I was having a horrible few days this week. It seems like a life pattern for me. I get overwhelmed physically, spiritually and emotionally. It causes a lethargy and depression to come over me. I get irritable and withdrawn. And I have a hard time getting better. I was in the middle of one of these times. I had been trying hard to work my way out of it today by forcing myself to get on with things and tend to stuff I had neglected around the house. I caught a glimpse of my orchid as I was washing up the dishes. And anew I was struck by its amazing growth. It occurred to me that I am like the orchid. I am dead in places and it hurts and it’s ugly. I can see where it would be easy for anyone to look at me and feel disappointed and want to give up. Yet God doesn’t give up. He didn’t give up on the orchid and He didn’t give up on me either. The power to defeat the hopelessness that is overtaking me already lives within me. Just as the orchid still had the spark of life when it looked dead, Christ does the same for me and continues to do that for me over and over again. Even when on the outside I seem lost, miserable and unsalvageable, inside of me resides the power to resurrect the dead and bring new life.
Every day I wake up to that power, that love and I forget. I lose sight of what I have in Him. I am so thankful God places reminders for me. I am so glad He does not give up in frustration but instead loves me so much that He fights for me, tends to me. He is good at gardening. He is faithful to care for me. One day I will be adorned with beautiful flowers, even more, magnificent than the orchids. But for now its blossoms will serve as a reminder of the hope I have in the gospel and it’s restoring, regenerative and ultimately redeeming power in my life.

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