On my birthday in July, two of my colleagues gave me a pretty little plant. It was full of little pink flowers and fresh, green leaves. I loved it. As I thanked them and admired it, I wondered inside how long I could keep the plant alive.
I’m just not good with plants. I’m not sure whether they don’t care for me or I’m just not destined for plant greatness, but my plants never survive. The last time someone gave me one, I rehomed it with a colleague down the hall. She tells me it’s thriving. Whenever she offers to give it back, I graciously—and enthusiastically—decline. It’s better for all of us.
This plant is still mine, though. I have tried to water it faithfully, but I have apparently failed. It greets me every morning on my office windowsill, and every day I wonder how much longer it will be with me.
It’s tempting to give up on the plant entirely and throw it away. It didn’t help that I was off for two weeks at Christmas. When I returned to the office, however, I was astonished to discover that the plant looked about the same as it had when I left. Clearly it has some life stirring within that gives it strength and new growth.
So, I keep watering the plant, recognizing that I have no idea what I’m doing, figuring that at this point I have little to lose.
Maybe it’s dying. Maybe it’s coming back to life. Maybe it’s hanging somewhere in the balance. I have no idea. All I know is that—to my untrained eye and my un-green thumb—it seems to have some life within it. And I simply cannot give up on a little plant that seems to be so full of determination, spirit, and an indomitable flicker of life.
This little plant makes me think of other parts of my life where I don’t see obvious successes. In many areas I am failing. In some I should probably throw in the towel. But I look at this little plant, growing despite its owner’s terrible gardening skills, and I think maybe there is growth I cannot see.
During January, with the new year well underway, perhaps those resolutions and goals we set seem dried out or tired and ready to toss. If we stop and look a little more closely, though, maybe we’ll see some new green growth, a sprout or shoot that could lead to something beautiful.
Let’s not give up yet. Maybe a little water, a little sunshine, and a little attention will help something beautiful bloom.