My sweet eighty-three-year-old, visually impaired mother sat at her computer last night working diligently on what I thought was an e-mail. Instead, she came to me later and said, “I just finished a guest post for the blog, if you’d like to use it!” So today’s post, written by my mom, Lorraine, is a real-life lesson she recently learned from a few potted plants.
It was the end of May. My geraniums were sprouting some promising stems and leaves for another year of colorful and refreshing blooms for us to enjoy. Another pot, the clay one, containing a wandering Jew, was the one I wanted most of all to revive, but it didn’t have even a hint of anything appearing above the dirt.
I hung the geraniums from their hooks on the patio. The little clay pot with seemingly only dirt in it still showed no signs of bearing its hoped-for greenery. That wandering Jew began as part of one that my mother had hanging on her front porch. Before her, my grandmother had it hanging on a hook over her rock garden. But this past winter, instead of tending to my cherished plant, my husband’s medical needs took priority (which I wouldn’t trade for anything), and it took its toll on my plants.
As the summer progressed, I pampered that pot of dirt. One day I noticed a little green dot peeking through the soil! Believe me, that little “plant” was fertilized, watered, got the right amount of sunshine, and yes, was even talked to a bit. Soon a beautiful long, slender leaf of my long-awaited wandering Jew began to show.
I placed it outside my front door and tended it religiously. Each time a stem was long enough, I broke off the end and replanted it. The clay pot was soon filled with healthy green leaves. I rejoiced that it seemed as though each one I planted lived. Mother (and Grandma) would have been so proud to know that I still had her wandering Jew plant.
Jeremiah 8:20 states: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended” (KJV). As the month of October became the current month on the calendar, I began to look at the leaves more carefully. All too soon I realized that it was not a wandering Jew but a weed that was similar: with long, slender green leaves. I have impaired vision, so what I thought was a treasure worthy of my time was really a weed that should have been exterminated as soon as it began growing.
In my spiritual life, I wonder how many weeds—like things that bring personal gain or pleasure for a season—I have nurtured while I left the real treasures of heavenly things unattended. Daily time in God’s Word, faithful prayer, a positive testimony for Christ, a burden for the lost, and a loving and tender care for someone in need are the plants I should tend. They alone will bear eternal fruit for God’s glory.
For those participating in Operation Optimize October, this week’s organization tip is:
Only keep complete sets unless the remaining part can serve a complete purpose on its own.
Though this tip seems like a “given” for those who are organizers, organizers are often very frugal (and wisely so). However, this quality can be a both a good thing and bad thing. The good part is obvious. The bad part is that frugal organizers tend to be “savers.” We (and please notice that I said “we”) save things “just in case” we might need them again in the future.
On the October 2014 calendar, you’ll see that this week’s list takes you into the kitchen to get started on a few basic tasks that you can do in fifteen minutes or less. But you’ll also notice that on both Thursday and Friday, the “omit” section encourages you to “match kitchen containers to lids; toss incomplete sets.” This is a two-day event because I have a sneaking suspicion that you just might hang on to a few incomplete “sets” after the first day, and you’ll need to omit those on Friday!
The overriding principle to remember is this: It served its purpose. The second principle is this: Because it can no longer completely serve that purpose (without its mate in the “set”), it is causing clutter or frustration.
It’s time, my optimizing friend; let it go.