Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Tenacity of Life

When I feel like giving up, I look at plants.  Have you ever seen anything more tenacious than a plant?
As part of a science project, Julia germinated some bean seeds. She chose 2 to put into a little soil and place on the window sill.  Every school child does this. But her wonder at its individual life, as it shoved its head above the dab of soil, her exclamations of "It's so cute!" as the seed leaves pushed from the seed -- how refreshing!
Here is a sansevieria, otherwise known as "mother-in-law tongue" plant. A friend gave it to me. And just this week, I noticed the strangest thing -- a flower (I think...). I had no idea these ugly, homely plants actually bloomed.  That's silly, I guess;  do all plants bloom some way or the other? Some bloom only under great stress, I've heard. I wonder why? Can humans be that way too? Do we blossom when we are under trial?
"Thus far and NO FARTHER!"  This is what I've dictated to the ivy crawling up my front wall. Recently I trimmed it back to a line.  Toe that line! In a few weeks, it will have sent up new shoots and will be encroaching into my territory again. I use a bricklayers trowel to scrape it off the bricks (the BEST method!), and snip it off.
But some of our ivy is less accessible.  Just a little over, this ivy is wandering up onto the window panes. Can you see how one of the windows is slightly open?  That's because the ivy has slipped inside.
See?  Little rascal! I'll have to go do something about it.  The Martha side of me says, "Get out of my house! It's my job to keep things tidy in here!"  The Mary side of me wonders at its tenacity;  it will keep trying! I admire this trait. I wish I had more of it myself, that drive never to give up, to look upon repeated rebuffings with a smiling eye and send out a new shoot of hope. "Life returns, begins again," as a song goes.
This poor plant, my mother gave me.  She calls it a weeping fig. I've killed it nearly-dead twice, dried it out both times.  And she said to water it, prune it, and wait. And wait. And slowly new little leaves appear.  The upper plant is dead, you see, but the roots are very alive. When one is rooted in good earth, resurrection is always possible.
Life is tenacious because it is of God.  It is what (in my opinion) God is made of -- it is who He is. He is life, and all that is connected to Him tends toward living, not dying. May my soul tend toward Him, as a bean sprout leans toward the sun.

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