five – alive

At the end of this first quarter of the year, I am pleased to report that I have five plants alive and thriving here at our hacienda. One of my goals for this year was to bring some live plants into the house…and keep them alive. I started with three, had some trouble with one temperamental plant, and have since added two more plants. So far, nobody has been dumped in the trash can or down by the creek. Everyone who has come into the house is still living inside the house.

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I truly love having live plants in the house. Some benefits* include:

Plants fight pollution indoors.

Phytoremediation is the ability plants have to remove chemicals from the air. They also absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen as part of photosynthesis.

Plants fight colds.

Statistics claim indoor plants decrease symptoms of colds (cough, sore throat) by more than 30% and the increased humidity from the plants helps to decrease the dust in the house.

Plants make you happy.

Plants can help decrease stress, anxiety and depression. They increase calm, optimism, improved mood, relaxation and improve self-esteem. They can even be a help to lower blood pressure.

Plants enhance cognitive function.

Plants have been known to improve concentration, improve memory, show better goal achievement and heighten attention.

(*all information summarized from “Importance of Plants in the Home,” Healthline, 19 April, 2013)

*****

However, despite these many wonderful benefits, the benefits alone haven’t been my main motivation for having plants.

I have never been able to keep them alive during my entire adult life. And this has become a sticking point for me. I wanted to learn something this year. I wanted to gain the wisdom and knowledge and experience to be able to nurture and love indoor plants.

I have finally discovered the reason why I have failed at many other attempts to keep plants green.

Plants take work. Plants take care. They take almost daily attention and prior to this year, I haven’t had or made the time to notice them or give them what they need for survival.

During the past three months, I have been making mental notes and consulting others (mainly Ryan) and going through a major period of trial and error with these plants. Apparently you can’t just bring them home from the grocery store and leave them alone. They don’t like that much.

I’ve made a few mental connections between plant care and soul care as I have observed and watched and learned how to care for these living things.

Plants need water, sunlight and air.

My soul gets parched and dry and thirsty too. I get droopy spiritually when I don’t routinely spend time in God’s Word, have consecrated prayer time and fellowship with other Believers. And I am learning it’s not enough to just have one or two of those things. Prayer and fellowship without the Word doesn’t cut it. Bible reading and prayer without fellowship can be isolating. It takes all three in the life of Believers to fully fulfill our souls.

Plants need daily attention.

You can’t forget about a plant for very long before it’s not thriving. I can maybe go a day or two here and there without reading my Bible or attending to my spirit, but the best case scenario for keeping me grounded and rooted in Truth and walking in love and showing the fruit of the Spirit is to take daily care of my soul. If I want to have life and have it more abundantly, I must submit my will to Christ (daily) to keep the enemy of my soul from prowling around waiting to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).

Plants are reciprocal things. They can’t take care of themselves.

Indoor plants were not designed to survive on their own. The plants in our house are fully relying on me (or someone) to water them, to scoot them toward the sun, to repot them if necessary, and to prune their leaves. The quality of life for my plants is directly connected to my care for them. I never see my plants working or striving. I only see them responding to the care I show them. The quality of my life is directly connected to God’s love and care for me. It’s God who does the work in me; there’s nothing I can do for myself or by myself or on my own apart from His grace and goodness.

“But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” {Isaiah 43:1}

Trite and trivial as it may seem, I am grateful for these plants and what they are teaching me about my relationship with the Lord and most importantly his love and care for me.

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