We have a total of one plant in the Reed household. Oh, I’ve killed hundreds of plants over my lifetime…spider plants, mother-in-law’s tongue, aloe veras, ferns and the like. I wanted them to grow. I begged them to grow, but a green thumb I do not have. (In the 90’s they said you should talk to your plants. I felt really dumb but tried it anyway.) I’ve seen plants in friends’ homes and have seen them in magazines. I like plants…I LOVE plants, but usually no matter how pretty they start out in the store, I have them ready to smoke in about 3 weeks. I water too much or too little, or put them in too much sun or not enough.
My lone plant is an African violet and I’ve had it for 13 years. (I don’t even know who gave it to me, though I have tried to figure it out.) Thirteen years ago, my beloved was preaching a revival. Some sweet soul brought the revival preacher an African violet for his wife who was unable to attend. (That was me.) He brought it home and I was thrilled. But then I remembered the fate of all the other African violets that had entered our establishment. I didn’t have great hopes for the lovely blooming plant; I’d killed plenty already. I would just do my very best to keep this one alive.
We moved about six months later and the African violet was still alive. I put it in a few different places hoping it would survive. It did! Two years later, we moved into a newly built parsonage with said plant. I read that African violets need certain things to thrive. (I wasn’t sure about the ‘thriving’ part; I was just concerned with the ‘surviving’ part.) The African violet and I checked out various areas of the house settling on a bright corner in the bathroom. I put it in a slightly larger pot for the move and it began to grow in its new environment.
A couple of months ago, which was actually ten years later, I realized that the African violet had not grown at all for some time. Its leaves looked droopy and not as dark green as I thought they should. If a plant could look depressed, this was it. I wondered if it might be time to re-pot it. Knowing my history with plants, I put it off. I could do more damage than good by repotting that poor plant.
I water it once a week-on Mondays-and try not to disturb it at any other time but there was no doubt…this A.V. was in crisis! If I didn’t do some CPR on it, it was a goner. (I dreaded it. I have dirt on my hands from the death of so many other plants.)
Blah, blah, blah, got some dirt, secured a larger terra cotta pot.
I tenderly tried to loosen the plant from the dirt, digging up around the root area. I was very surprised that the roots weren’t deep at all. They made cracking noises as I moved them around in my hand. (Sounded like tiny screams to me.) I pulled off the lower, saggy leaves. With new, super-duper, something special in it dirt, this African Violet just might have a life changing experience. This might just be what it needed to grow! I carried it back to its perch in the bathroom. If African Violets could talk it would have said, “What the thunder just happened?!”
I told my beloved that I had repotted the plant and it might not make it. (I’m usually optimistic, except when it comes to vegetation.) It wasn’t nearly as big a deal to him as it was to me.
I’ve kept a close eye on the African Violet trying to adjust to the changes. The leaves seemed less limpy. Their color was looking better, too. This week, the coolest thing happened. My 13-year-old African Violet bloomed! The pink lacy flowers stood taller than ever, and the number of blooms were more than I could have imagined. I laughed out loud-or LOL for the Facebookers.
I couldn’t help thinking about how God does that to us, too. I’ve been re-potted several times and my roots and sometimes my mouth were screaming the whole way. Has that ever happened to you? A job change, loss of loved one, kids going to kindergarten, middle school, high school or college are just a few of the times we want to stop things right where they are. We don’t want things to be different! We don’t want anything to change!
After God has re-potted me (aka changed my location or vocation, etc.), it was a little traumatic at first. But then, He has strengthened me and cared for me. He has taken me places I would have never ever gone on my own.
If God has up-rooted you, don’t let your leaves droop. He won’t stick you in a corner and expect you to grow on your own. He will be right there, lavishing you with exactly what you need. After your roots get adjusted, you may just stand taller and bloom more than ever before! I guess that’s called “Blooming where you’re planted!”
Dawn Reed is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.