Tuesday, June 05, 2012

African Violet Theology

I don't have a green thumb.  I've always wanted to be skilled at growing beautiful flowers and showing them off to my friends and neighbors.  The only evidence of my gardening ability was growing sunflowers as a young girl.  Each summer I would plant sunflower seeds on the side of our house and so would our neighbor.  He and I would compete to see whose sunflower grew the tallest at the end of the summer.  The beauty of sunflowers is their ease in growth. You plant them after the last frost and they reach maturity in 90 days...the exact time frame of my summer vacation.  There are Polaroids somewhere of me standing next to one of my award-winning sunflowers, posing like Vanna White while it towered over me.  I was so proud!

But, since those days, I've not been able to grow a blooming flower for more than a month.  On my birthday last year, our receptionist at work gave me one of those potted miniature rose plants.  Although her motive in giving was in hopes I'd help her keep her temporary job, I was still thrilled to have a blooming plant to take a whirl with again!  Within a week, it was dead.  Folks, this is why I don't have a pet.  I fear I'd be a horrible caretaker and they'd post a "Please Adopt Me" ad on Craig's List. 

About two weeks ago, I decided it was time to jump on the gardening train once again.  I'm reading a book this month for my book club - The Language of Flowers - and it rekindled my love for flowers and plants.  I went to a local market that carries various blooming plants and perused the selection.  I saw the miniature rose plants and shivered at the thought of going that route again.  Then I decided upon the African Violet.  I love the color purple and they require sunlight, but not direct and not all day sun, so I had the perfect place in my house for it to live.  I decided while I was there, I'd buy a bottle of African Violet food to help boost my chances of survival.  Off I went, $9 later, with my plant and tons of potential.

Once I got home, I looked online about "how to care for African Violets" and all the signs to watch for to indicate imminent death.  I prepared my water with the food additive and placed the pot in a dish of my enhanced water for 30 minutes.  African Violet leaves aren't to get wet (a sure way to kill your plant) so you water them from the roots up.  After the plant was fully refreshed, I placed it in a fresh dish and positioned it in its new home.  Every few days I rotate it between waterings so it gets an even amount of sun.  So far, so good.

In caring for this plant, I was reminded of a good spiritual lesson.  Growing in Christ takes tending, feeding and nurturing.  We won't grow in Him if we don't take the time to be refreshed by His Word or spend time in the rays of the Son.  So many days I want to whisk through my Bible reading or prayer, when I need to place myself in the midst of the Living Water and let it saturate me from the roots out.  I'm a much happier and vibrant Rose when I don't neglect my care with the Lord.  As my little African Violet keeps progressing, I'll always be reminded of the importance of growing and progressing in my pursuit towards holiness. 

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