Maia brought this plant home from school for me in May - a Mother's Day present, just a few days before life changed. And in the midst of all the stress, this poor plant suffered. Oliver (one of our cats) decided that he liked the taste of the leaves and chewed them to nubs. I wish that I had taken a picture of it at the time, but you can get an idea in this picture. By the time Maia was home and I actually paid attention to anything in the house, it was barely hanging on. But, the plant was a gift from my sweet girl so I decided to try to save it.
I make no claims of having a "green" thumb. While I don't have a "black thumb," gardening is not my thing. I wish that it was, but I am lucky to keep a few plants alive in our home. An african violet from my grandmother, a plant that was sent for Bob's funeral, a couple of others. So, I did not have high hopes when I set the little container in the window above my kitchen sink. I watered it when I remembered and kept watching. It didn't seem to be getting any worse. And then one morning, there was a new little shoot which had popped up in the middle. You can see it if you look closely below.
I started to think about this in two ways. The first relates to Maia. She was taken to the brink of death (just like the plant). Slowly with lots of love and nurturing, Maia is beginning to show signs of life again. The remnants of the destruction are still evident to all, but there is hope as we see little signs of improvement and regrowth. And I continue to pray that both my precious gift from Maia and more importantly, my girl herself will continue to grow and thrive - one day being abundantly healthy and vibrant again!
My second train of thought has to do with myself (or really, every person). It has to do with God's work within us. When life is carefree and effortless, when worries are few, it's so easy to forget our dependence on Him. How often do we get a little too self-assured, self-confident, and think we can manage things on our own? While I would never claim that I don't need God, I admit that there are times when life is going smoothly and I am a little more "slack" in my relationship with Him. Maybe even coast a bit. And my spiritual development coasts, too. But, it is in those difficult moments when we feel like we are at that "near death" point (physically, emotionally, spiritually), that God can accomplish the most. When I acknowledge my inadequacies, my weaknesses, my failures, I can surrender to my Heavenly Father and rest in Him. And even when it doesn't feel like there is any change happening, God is working underground, in the rubble, in the dirt (whatever metaphor seems appropriate), in ways that we can't even begin to comprehend. Ever so slowly, those new little shoots appear. Signs of rebirth, growth, commitment, reliance on Him. So if I have the choice to live an "easy" life without God or experience heartbreak, trials, and difficulties knowing that He will see me through each of them, I will choose the second option because the eternal rewards are worth more than anything I can imagine here on this earth.