I'm a member of Garden Church- 3 lessons I've learned while meeting Holy Spirit amongst Houseplants
Why did I get plants in the first place?
I’ve thought about this question often. I mean. I think I had a reason for the purchase of plant number one. Of COURSE I had a reason! Right? We all have reasons why we do things. Certain catalysts that make decision making easy. And if not easy… at least clear. I guess that’s what we all hope for-clarity. Even if we have to be forcefully dragged into encountering it.
But as I sit here in my office with some lo-fi music playing in the background a little too loudly, I realize that I can’t quite remember what I thought was the reason. You see, I have the blessing of being able to look at that then present moment as a past experience. And honestly I can see that Holy Spirit was nudging me the whole time. Yes .The Holy Spirit made me buy a plant… Well at least my first few. Ha! I won’t blame HS (that’s what I call Him when we talk in the mornings) for all 12 of the plants currently in my meditation/prayer room. But I can definitely bear witness to how He lovingly drew me to the first green purchase. It wasn’t a push… It was a pull…
So now, on Sundays, for the past few weeks, I’ve been a faithful member of Garden Church. I take all of my plants onto my porch. I pull out my gardening tools. I wear shorts WAY too short for one of those brick and mortar buildings that I used to think was Church. I take care of them as He takes care of me… And boy have I heard some sermons from those plants! Too many to count, too many to type. But today I figured I’d share 3.
Lesson 1: There is a danger in holding on to our attachments too long- even when they LOOK beautiful.
I learned this lesson from Bertha. She’s an elephant ear with an attitude. Well, one of her beautifully gigantic leaves was starting to lean. I mean not a full gangsta lean. But it was definitely not as perky as her counterparts. And it was gorgeous! Still green. Just with a lean.
I figured I’d let it keep its position in the family for a while. I’d wait to cut it til it was completely brown and disgusting-looking. That seemed like a more justifiable time. I recall even thinking that if one of my neighbors saw me in Garden Church cutting off a perfectly good leaf that they would know I was a novice. (I have NO idea why that mattered. I should’ve been more concerned about them wondering where I had misplaced the other half of my shorts.)
But I felt this little nudging that said “cut it”. So I did. In the middle of that evening (so Bertha didn’t have to witness her surgery), I cut the leaf. I ceremoniously threw it in a black trash bag. I immediately saw that a little sprout was growing in the soil underneath. I rejoiced. Like legit did a dance. I was glad something good had come from my cutting. I went to sleep that night pretty satisfied.
However, the true miracle was waiting for me in the morning. When I woke up I saw that from one of the stalks (is that what you call it?) there was an entirely new leaf unfurling! It was almost as if Bertha was waiting for enough space to grow something new. In that moment I realized that something in me is waiting for me too…
Lesson 2: You should watch a leaf unfurl. Seriously.
Now you KNOW I was obsessed with that little leaf that was sprouting into this new plant world. I mean I watched that thing like a hawk. I watched as it slowly peeled away from its parental attachment. I saw how small and tightly coiled it was- unassuming. Then I watched as it began to unravel and take up it’s true amount of space. I’ve never SEEN seen a baby be born. Mostly because I’m pretty good at the boughie, fun auntie role. But this was a birth of sorts.
Which made me realize that this is happening around me literally EVERY single day! Not just in my mini jungle in my home. But in every bush, every tree, every dandelion that I pass on my way to get… somewhere! But as I’m looking at that one leaf unfurl, I felt like I was in the “somewhere” I was always in a hurry to find. The contentment that I thought would happen from selling records, making money, being “popular,” racking up sky miles that I wouldn’t use. The elusive “there” that I was looking for was in the room where I chose to meet with HS. No matter where I live, I have a feeling that “there” will always be with Him.
Lesson 3: Sometimes, if you don’t put a plant in a place where it receives adequate light, it won’t necessarily die… it just won’t grow
I feel like I’m giving Bertha all the attention without talking about her siblings as well. Sibling rivalry is EVERYWHERE. LOL. I like to say that’s why I rearrange the plants every Sunday evening when I bring the “kids” in from their bathing in both water and sun. It’s turned into a fun game in my head.
Bertha and Bishop shove too much. So I never put them together. Dorothy was the matriarch of my life, so her namesake plant has to sit somewhere high to look over all the little ones. Snake is a little wild and gets bored easily. Aundrea is my free spirit, she’s just drawn to the sun. Even if I don’t place her near the window she starts looking for the light.
Which is the final lesson. Aundrea has a bit of a problem. She’s root bound. Basically she’s become a little too big for her pot. I’m whispering this because I don’t want her to develop a complex about her curves. But to be honest, I didn’t really notice. I mean, she’s one of my happier ones. I had been keeping her on the other side of the room so I didn’t know she wasn’t getting all she needed. However, what I did notice was that she was well… stunted. Not to be confused with “stuntin’” She wasn’t wearing Gucci sunglasses and talking to me in a British accent.
She just wasn’t growing as she should. And sometimes, neither am I. If I were honest, that probably describes the last 4 years of my life. I was producing, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it growing. Yet here I am, like Aundrea. A model for the benefit of spending more time in the light. She’s got a new spot right at the window and her new, bigger planter is on my weekend shopping list. I wonder what my new, bigger planter will look like. I have an inkling that it will fit just right.
So let me be clear...
This is not a recommendation to get 12, I mean, 16 plants (I went to Trader Joe's since I drafted this post. That’s not the point. Move along here.) In fact, I’m pretty sure I strongly warn AGAINST developing a collection of this size in such a short period of time.
This is a reminder that the triune God is sitting in every corner of your home, at every turn on your life, waiting to speak to you through what seems mundane… He’s in the garden as much as He is in the pew… Maybe that’s the grace of this time. He’s continued to ask us to meet Him in the garden while we’ve only been looking for Him in a building.
So don’t leave me hanging… What’s the most “secular” place that Holy Spirit has turned sacred for you? Leave your comments below. I’d love to chat with you.
From my soul to yours,