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)

To my future husband

I don’t know where you are, when we’ll meet or whether we’ve already met. But I do know that I will always choose to love you when the time comes. Every single day. Until then, this is an open letter I’ll keep close to my heart.

Dear K, 

You will fall deeply and unconditionally in love with a man who cares to understand and accept you. He will show his empathy towards you through his speech and actions. He will love you unconditionally and faithfully, the same way you’ve fallen in love with him. He knows the value of a good woman and will choose you, and only you, especially in moments of fear, anger or disappointment.

When it comes to his time, he will show you that you are a priority. No work could ever be big enough or more important. Nonetheless, you will show him respect as work and his ambitious goals are equally important as yours. He will similarly treat you with respect and admiration. And he will not be ashamed, but proud of you as his partner and best friend. 

Over time you will grow together and align in values. You will have beautiful children and build a home together. This man will not only want you to be a part of his life, he will build and cultivate a Christ-centered life with you. A choice he is not hesitant to make because having a family is something he has truly wanted for himself. He will never leave you or make you feel alone. He will protect you and care for you and your family as a symbol of his appreciation and gratitude for your life together. He will not take you, your commitment and love for granted.

You will grow old and have wonderful squishy little grandchildren running all around the house. Each day may not be perfect but always filled with a grateful heart and a joyous smile. 

Stay hopeful. Have patience. 

Love always,

K

P.S. This letter is to those relentlessly putting their hearts on the line with the hope of a happier ending. Loving someone is the most courageous choice and action any of us can take. It requires trust, hope, friendship, integrity, vulnerability, commitment, and most of all, faith. 

Your day will come, just be ready to receive and accept the love freely given to you.

Re: Revised Philosophy on Love & Relationships

Written more than two years ago, I came up with my own unorthodox philosophy about love and relationships. Thing is, it’s incomplete. You know what’s missing? People. Before I explain, have a read of what my previous philosophy looks like:

  1. I don’t “look”. I find that the more you look for it the harder it is to find. It will come at it’s own time, at some place and with a specific person. You won’t know how long it’ll last but it will have a beginning, middle and an ending. Being receptive to everyone you meet is key.
  2. I don’t have expectations. This really goes with any relationship/friendship with me. I believe in having choices and being able to make choices. Not because I can put the blame on the other person after but because I personally don’t like doing something that I don’t want to do so why should I impose the same to someone else? If I’m actually doing something, it’s because I actually want to do it and care for it. And if you can look at yourself in the mirror and be proud of whom you see, that’s good enough for me.
  3. People in our lives come and go. Every person we meet, we met for a reason regardless of how long we stay connected with him or her. If ever they leave, it may just mean that our roles in each other’s lives are completed. But I can also see how this can be problematic. Some clichés insinuate that you should fight for your love versus you should let your love go if you love the person enough. But hey, these are clichés right? Their validity lies on the extent of your belief of them.
  4. Trust is earned not given. Now, there’s a difference between that and giving the benefit of the doubt. You can give him/her the benefit of the doubt but the sincerity is in their actions. You gotta show me not just tell me.
  5. Mind games are for degenerating minds and infants. No beating around the bush. Straightforward honest-to-the-big-man-in-the-sky talk. Pretty self-explanatory.
  6. Love carelessly. I’ve already mentioned that you don’t know who’s coming or when, so why have judgement? You love whom you love. This has a dual purpose because for me it also means that loving someone entails taking a leap of faith. It may be impossible to love fearlessly so why not love courageously? Don’t waste chances you could have taken; speak words you could have said and actions you could have made. Breathe, it’s okay to look foolish that’s just a part of life. Learning from your foolishness is your choice.
  7. Love unconditionally. This somewhat goes with #2. Love is the ultimate gift; it expects nothing in return.

I still agree with some of these principles but frankly I wrote these principles while I was going through a breakup. If you read it carefully, I’m not taking responsibility for my actions or lack thereof. These principles reflect the kind of independence that I needed to regain after a breakup. That’s not to say you don’t have any independence in a relationship. No, I’m not saying that at all! The integral piece that it’s missing is that a *genuine relationship is a partnership.

I’m used to taking care of myself and taking care of others that it’s so difficult for me to ask people for help or to let someone else take care of me. A highly problematic trait in a relationship. Truth be told, I have been known to emasculate men because of my independence. Just at dance class the other day, I subconsciously was doing this to my partner! If you’re familiar with the dance Forro, the men are supposed to take the lead. They are supposed to guide women on the dance floor between each base and spin. During our lesson on spinning, I noticed my hand immediately going into position prior my partner making the move for me to do so. My foot was on the right place and I already finished my turn, but I forgot to pause. I didn’t wait for my partner to guide me that it was time for both of us to move forward into the routine. My timing was off because I was just thinking about myself and what I wanted to do next. In Forro, much like in relationships, you need to be in sync with your partner to move forward. You also need to let your guard down, but let’s save that for another reflection session. 😉

So here’s my short takeaway: love is a complete paradox. We try very hard to understand it yet, with every experience we have with love our ideas in turn shift and change. [Monogamous] Relationships are partnerships between two people taking each step together. Sometimes you need to adjust yourself in their rhythm, even if that means taking it one step at a time.

Always,

K

P.S. I’m only 24. I’m just getting the hang of this stuff. Have patience with me.