Re: Plants are like people

I grew up with different kinds of plants in our family’s house, backyard and front yard. Some plants were flowers, others were edible and a few were decorative (for the lack of a better word). My mom enjoyed planting different kinds of fruits, vegetables and herbs, and she was really good at it. We used to spend a lot of time jarring tomatoes or freezing them at the end of the hot days of summer. Living on my own, I only just started to appreciate the joy I get watching my plants grow week after week. And yes, I do talk to them! A benefit COVID-19 brought us this year, I guess? 

Each plant species has its own optimal conditions to flourish. Some prefer shade, some like humid temperatures, while others enjoy consistent watering. Now, I have to admit that I’ve definitely killed a couple of succulents and one cactus because of overwatering. Thankfully, the internet has a plethora of gardening websites that continuously warns us from overwatering – the common plant executioner if you will. Another thing that overwatering seemed to attract are fungus flies/gnats. They thrive in consistently moistened soils and could breed hundreds, infecting sprouts and smaller plants. All of that reminds me of how similar plants are to people. This is not a new concept, and I’m sure someone else has written about this similarity more eloquently before. Although, the aspect that got my attention was how much our plants’ environment, our environment affects not just our growth but more importantly our roots. 

The integrity and strength of a virtuous wife transforms her husband into an honoured king. But the wife who disgraces her husband weakens the strength of his identity.

Proverbs 12:4 (Passions Translation)

After reading the book of Daniel, this proverb kept coming to mind. Daniel and his friends remained faithful to the God of their forefathers despite the long exile in Babylon. They didn’t succumb to the pressures of conforming to their oppressor’s beliefs and way of life. Steadfast and in joyful obedience. Life wasn’t picture perfect, being thrown in a lion’s den and in an earthly inferno could push someone over the edge, but they remained unshaken. Their friendship and faithfulness helped them remain true to their identity – their roots. The proverb specifically mentions a wife, but I imagine we can broaden this to the person or people we spend the most time with. After all, our environment doesn’t just consist of space but people too. 

Over the years I’ve had to re-evaluate friendships I was making versus those I’d like to sustain. Are we cultivating our internal gardens with friends that reflect/support our Christ centred values and welcoming dialogue from diverse perspectives? Or do we seek friendships for approval and validation? The proverb warns us to choose wisely. And truth be told, it’s not easy to make wise decisions when we are craving attention and acceptance. We want to fill the void – feel loved. But the choice does get easier when we allow our hearts to see that the only person that could ever fill that void already loves us unconditionally. God loves us in our worst with fungus gnats flying all around, and he continues to love us as we bloom into the unique flower he designed us to be.

Unlike plants we have the choice to create an environment to live in. We have the privilege to grow intentionally, not passively. We can intervene in the kind of fruits we produce. Question is – What are you rooted in? What are the fruits of your choices?

Always, 

K

P.S. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NIV translation)

Saving the best for last.

This random thought dawned on me when I was brainstorming ideas for an essay. I looked over my right shoulder and noticed that on top of my books from last semester an almost empty box of Ferrero Rocher rested. My dear friend gave them to me on Valentine’s Day and you know what? There’s still ONE left! I specifically remembered thinking that I was going to save one just in case something bad happens and I needed a little boost. I thought that by now someone would have eaten it when I wasn’t around, but I’m pleasantly surprised to say that no one has…yet.

Image

This got me thinking about how often I wait until I finish everything else on my plate with the exception of the very thing I wanted to eat in the first place. I always seemed to save what I wanted the most for last. Why is that? What am I waiting for? I kept these thoughts at the back of my mind and it would re-surface every now and then when I went out with some friends and family. Everyone’s eating habits varied. But how much did each of our eating habits transferred into our habits beyond eating?

This idea came to mind again while tucking away my last white chocolate and macadamia nut cookie during my study break for an exam with a friend. She blatantly asked me, “why do you do that? Why don’t you just eat it now?” We talked about this idea for a moment. It became evident to me during our conversation how relative our eating habits are to our personalities and behaviours about other things outside of food. I’m going to use myself as the subject for this inquiry simply because it’s much easier to scrutinize my behaviours considering I have some grasp of my justifications for them.

Let’s just start with eating that last piece of Ferrero Rocher or really eating the last piece of whatever it is I want the most at the time. Like what I said, I was saving this piece of delectable chocolate goodness for another day, if I’m being honest here, for a bad-a really bad- day. I find that this is closely related to how I shop for pretty much anything and with relationships. So let’s say I’m going to Walmart to buy a notebook or a pen and obviously there’s multiple choices varying in brands, styles, prices and colours. I stand there, looking at every single one of them before making my top 3 or so choices knowing that within my top three is the one I want and usually get. Granted most days I don’t usually go for what I regularly get because I seem to always want to try different things, but come on we’re talking about a notebook/pen here. Either way you’re going to need your hand to write with it or hold it. It doesn’t change why you want that thing to begin with. So, why the struggle? I know what I want, why not just get it? If you read a few sentences before this I think you’d know the answer. There’s two-choices and trying everything.

It seems like I am self-inclined to try everything else on my plate before eating what I want to eat because of these two reasons as well. I want to try everything because, well, I haven’t tried them before. Meanwhile, I eat whatever item last, despite of really wanting to it, because I already know what it taste like. I already know that it tastes really good. The same thing with choices, especially nowadays when we have so many. I know which choice, is the safe choice, the more reliable choice, but I don’t seem to want to take it. It’s kinda like taste testing every flavour in an ice cream shop before getting a brain freeze to tell you which flavour you liked the most. Sound familiar? Doesn’t this have some societal implications of consumerism pervading our individuality? Just something to think about.

While I’m at it, it seems that this mindset crept its way to how I behave in my relationships, in this context, romantic relationships. Reflecting on this, I feel kinda bad about some of them. Let’s just say, I’m not the easiest person to persuade that I can or want to commit to you. It takes time and effort. I know I mentioned this somewhere before? Probably in my other blog’s post. Anyway, point is, this whole idea of saving the last piece, the piece that I really wanted, for last somewhat reflects how I interact with my relationships in the same sense that I always seem to try to look for something more than what I already know I want. It’s kinda like always wanting to know if I can find something-someone-better. And in retrospect you can always find something or someone better, BUT just because something or someone is better, it doesn’t make them the right choice. I can’t tell you exactly what the ‘right’ choice is or how I would be able to make the ‘right’ choice when I need to. Sometimes it’s a feeling or intuition but I’m not going to pretend as though I know exactly how to tell because I truthfully don’t. More often, I just try to have faith that the choices I’m making are the right choices.

Needless to say, what I’m beginning to learn is to not cast what I want aside in pursuit of something better. It’s generating some continuous short-lived satisfactions when I am conscious that what I know would satisfy me is simple. Don’t get me wrong always striving for the best and recognizing that improvements need to take place is a good thing, but knowing when something is enough, I think, is even better. At the end of the day what we want doesn’t necessarily equate to what we need. And you know what, our needs are simple. Maybe next time, I will just finish that last piece of chocolate exactly when I want to.

Always,
K