I was driving to work this morning and noticed a peace lily plant next to a garbage can at the street. I almost stopped! I am one that will take care of a plant till the last leaf falls off. Matter of fact, a friend at work sent an email out that she had two peace lilies upstairs that she was offering for someone to take care of on another floor because she just couldn’t keep them alive. Of course I took one!
As I kept driving, my mind kept wondering back to the peace lily. I call them funeral plants. (I hear everyone going OHHH, now I know what they are!) Why would someone throw away a perfectly good plant? At least it looked pretty good. The owner might have been tired of taking care of it. It might have actually come from a funeral and brought sad memories. Then I realized that I had been driving at 40 miles per hour and maybe it had bugs or a plant disease.
My mind immediately was drawn to myself and how people are viewing Jay and me. We are seen in public and I cannot count the number of times people will come up and say, “I just want to give you a hug.” Hugs are always welcome. We smile and go along. We are sometimes pointed at and I’ll either waive or just giggle. Or, “How are you doing?” Do you really want to know?
Jay and I have had many friends that have surrounded us at the Collierville football games tell us what an inspiration we have been to them. I distinctly remember having the conversation with Trey about how he did not want to be an inspiration. That was not his goal. That is not our goal either. We are just living our lives the best way we know how. Sometimes, just like that plant, by all appearances, we look perfect. So do many of our church friends and our youth, but down deep they may be dealing with something that is out of control.
Several weeks ago one of the seniors in the Sunday School girl’s class that I teach with a friend of mine gave her testimony. It rocked their world to know this precious girl who seems to always have it all together has been in therapy for some very serious issues. Were there signs? I thought everything was fine and would give her a hug when I saw her. Just like the hugs we are getting.
One of my favorite passages is John 15:1-11. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
I thought of this scripture this morning and wondered if this plant was drying up like we dry up when we do not abide in Christ. Even in my darkest hour, it is still my desire to produce fruit for God. That is why it has not been our desire to inspire others, but to glorify God in all we do. Our prayer is that through this journey we will continue producing fruit. In order to produce the fruit, we need God because without Him, we can do nothing, absolutely nothing. That plant, on its own, can do absolutely nothing. It cannot grow, produce the white bloom, it cannot feed or water itself. The plant relies upon a gardener. Maybe the gardener got tired.
I understand the weariness of a gardener and/or the branches of the vine. Satan tempts us when we are weary. He tells us we are not good enough. He tells us we are not worth it. He tells us we will not make a difference and we do not have anything to say. Or that our grief and pain is crippling. Yes, it can be, but not to the point of not producing fruit. I almost believed him. I call it SENSORY grief. My eyes grieve Trey, my nose misses the smell of his skin, my ears miss this voice and his laughter, my hands miss touching his face and hair, my body misses his hugs, and most of all, kissing him goodnight each night, but my heart, oh, it knows the difference. It still breaks, but my heart knows that he is rejoicing with Jesus and reaping his bountiful harvest of fruit. Trey produced some fruit!
Now as for that plant, it looks perfect on the outside, but on the inside, maybe at the roots, it’s not doing so well. Do you know someone like that? Our roots are fine, it is just that we may LOOK perfect, or even okay on some days, but we just haven’t been watered lately.