Rooted, Barely

I decided it was time to repot one of my plants. I would like to think it was my stellar attentiveness and gardening skills that led me to this moment. In truth, I had a pot that I liked and wanted to use. I was motivated to find a plant that needed repotting.

I like plants. I have many in my home. Most do well living in my sunroom. I admire them and on occasion water and prune them. Truly, my plants are merciful for they thrive in spite of me, blooming and growing even when they could use a drink or some attention.

The plant that I decided to repot is one of the neglected. It is an ivy of some sort. It was given to me by friends as part of a flower arrangement ten years ago. It was still growing in its original basket. The other plants in this arrangement, had long since been removed and replanted, but this one, remained. Slowly, it climbed over bookcases and lamps, attaching to sun catchers and picture frames. It appeared healthy. It is probably the plant I ignore the most.

So, I was shocked when I went to repot it. I had new soil, a lovely new container, and great expectations. I thought that I might even have to separate roots so that I would gain a second plant that I could take to my classroom. What I found, as I started the process, was shocking. This plant, with meters of foliage, green and robust, was connected to the soil by one frail root, barely resting in the old container.

I could not believe my eyes. I wondered what I should do. Do I dare disturb it? Will I kill the plant if I move it to new soil, fertile and rich? How did I not notice this when I watered? Was I so busy admiring the green leaves that I took no notice of the root? Apparently.

My heart has been filled these days with prayers about the church in my own little rural community. As I drive to and from my day job, I spend a lot of time praying and wondering about how so many of the little people I spend my days with have no idea of the One who loves them first and best. For they and their families, the church is as important as the bowling alley or the legion. They know it exists. They probably do not know why or never give it care.

Like my plant, the church may look to be okay on one level, still living, but not thriving as it could; still making a difference, but not like it should. Sometimes I feel like the church is so busy trying to survive that it has barely stayed connected to its source of life. Like my plant, because we see some life, we do not look beyond that and see that we are truly not growing. There is no new life and we are not making the difference that we could in our communities.

I repotted my plant. Though it looked healthy, I had to acknowledge that it has not grown larger in years. Where other plants have grown and multiplied, it has stayed pretty much the same. It has become more like a piece of art than a living thing. As I placed the spindly root in the new soil, I prayed for the church to be rooted, firmly, in the heart of the Good News. And I will continue to pray this prayer, especially when I water my plant, which I plan to do with more attentiveness and frequency!

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