Every time I look at this plant cutting I think of a fish out of water, struggling to breath, impossible to catch a break - emotions wearing thin. Not that a plant has emotions, but aren't we wired to see ourselves in other situations, often unknowingly, drawing conclusions filtered through our own experiences? Propagation is a funny thing - sometimes it works with no effort at all, other times nothing happens even though we give it fresh water, the optimal amount of sunlight, and sing it bedtime stories. But this isn't so mystical. God makes it clear what happens when roots are established and fruit springs up in season, flourishing and bountiful. And ultimately, He enables that growth, ordains it even. It's His mercy that makes the soil of our hearts ready to hear and His kindness that leads us to repentance.
I was ready to throw out the small cutting of the fiddle leaf fig plant when I was surprised by the yellow and almost furry roots reaching and growing together, eager to live. And I felt the parallels rushing in to my mind in realization. I felt like I was looking in a mirror of my own experiences, the thoughts soothing like a healing balm, the warmth of God's care of His creation rushing through my heart. Culture shock doesn't seem like a thing navigating to another region of North America, right? To think because I'm nearing thirty I've grown out of my naivety is, well just naive. I was only excited when the plans were made, and the move was happening. And don't get me wrong, it's been a really great and joyous thing, I truly wouldn't go back and change it all, but it hasn't been without pain. But the raw nature of it has subsided, waves of homesickness becoming smaller, and the stages of grief moving to acceptance. And calling grief what it is has helped free me, much like calling sin what it is, because there's a remedy. Healing can happen when the pain is called out, the sin is brought into the light, which brings me back to putting down roots. When we loosen our grip of control, and look to the One who has our best interest at heart always, our roots can reach down and the soil of our souls can be fertilized, and we can grow. The cheesy phrase of blooming where you're planted has found it's way onto those posters and pins for good reason.
I've felt a shift, brought surprisingly by the lockdown of Covid, and being forced to stay put has stacked new layers into my spirit - one being the thought that if we moved from our neighbourhood someday, I would miss it deeply: the quiet streets behind, the bustling city in front, the line at Maha's stacked ten deep, running to the community pool before it closes, Maple's little puppy nose meeting the other now familiar neighbourhood dogs. And I would describe the accompanying emotion as calm. Instead of fretfully dreaming of what house we need to buy someday, and worrying that we are behind, I want to be intentional about nourishing deep roots, to be more like the tree that is described in Psalm chapter 1, "But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do". By God's grace, I want to be more firm, trusting in God and His Word more than circumstances, steady through the storms of life because He is the steady anchor of my soul.
And much like caring for the sparrows as Jesus speaks about in Matthew 6 (see below) I see God's care and beautiful design for the plants of the fiddle leaf fig, and I see there also His deep care for me. So where are you putting down roots? And what type of life are you building? My prayer is that you will grow into the life God has for you friend. He has established good works beforehand, that we may walk in them. May we put down roots together, and grow.
"Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are?"