Though I’ve attempted growing bonsai trees for more than a decade, my botanical interests have expanded in recent years. Last year, I added cactus and succulents. Six months ago, I added orchids.
Besides the beauty they bring to my home, I’m fascinated by the daily growth, development and changes. Especially in the Spring, I can discover a new sprout, bud, or bloom every time I look.
Just this week, some of my orchids have started blooming, and others are getting close. The Desert Roses I pruned and repotted, are just beginning to show signs of new growth. The bougainvillea, that looked sickly last month, are blooming.
Given the right amount of sunlight, water, fertilizer, pruning and care, plants grow and blossom in fairly predictable ways. Barring strange weather, or insects, or disease, plants bloom when they’re supposed to bloom and bear fruit when they’re supposed to bear fruit.
My life doesn’t seem nearly as predictable. My growth, development, and fruitfulness seems much more random and sporadic. Sometimes, when I want to grow, I feel like I’m hopelessly fallow. Then, other times, growth sprouts unexpectedly, unpredictably. In either situation, I certainly don’t see signs of new growth on a daily basis.
But, if I’m honest, my personal seasons and rhythms of care aren’t nearly as consistent as my gardening. I see what my plants need, and do it. They’re watered, on a schedule. They’re fertilized, regularly. Pruning and trimming is performed as needed.
Perhaps there’s a lesson in that. If I want to see more regular growth and development in myself, I need to schedule more purposeful and intentional routine in my life. Could it be that fruitfulness in humans is just as predictable as in plants, if we’re attentive to the seasonality of our own needs for care, nourishment, and pruning?
One thought on “Predictable Growth”
I think about how often gardens are mentioned in Scripture, as well as Paul’s teaching in Hebrews 11:1 (“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”) Isn’t that also a perfect description of a garden? You plant, you tend, you work with a never-ending hope for a wonderful result…unseen for now. But it will come!
One of my favorite poems is “God’s Garden” by Dorothy Frances Gurney. One section is quite well known: “One is nearer God’s heart in a garden/Than anywhere else on earth.” The rest of the poem is equally lovely and meaningful.
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