Nearly three years ago I moved into a new home and bought a gorgeous peace lily to decorate it with. It was tall and robust and had several beautiful blooms. It was a hopeful beginning.
But then something happened.
It didn’t happen over night, no – it was slow, subtle. My peace lily failed to thrive. One at a time its broad, green leaves became discolored and sickly. So I pruned. I fertilized, and I re-potted, and I watered; I did everything I could think of to give life back to my once beautiful plant. For a year I tortured the poor thing with my efforts, purposely denying what it really needed. Until finally one day, when it had almost completely wasted away, I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I had to face the facts. It just wasn’t getting enough sun.
So I did what I should’ve done months earlier. I quit forcing it to exist in unnatural conditions and I set it outside to get real, unfiltered sunlight.
It’s taken it some time to regain some of it’s former glory. Two years. Two years of watering and just letting it be.
Two years of letting it breath in and breath out. Of letting it get a little dirty.
Of letting it hang out with it’s brothers and sisters. And finally, it has produced a single, hopeful, peace lily. Two years – one bloom.
However, even in it’s revived, healthier state, it still isn’t as perfect as it first seemed. It’s still a little rough around the edges.
But the truth is, that thing I brought home nearly 3 years ago? That wasn’t a real plant. I mean, it was – but it wasn’t. It was born in an artificial environment, bred to perfection just so someone like me would think I could control it.
Now? It’s weathered storms. It’s survived winters. It’s lived a real life. And sure, maybe it shows the scars of that, but it only makes me love and appreciate it even more.
Nearly three years ago I thought I was a strong, healthy, peace lily. But despite my best efforts and all the artificial spiritual stimuli I treated myself with, I couldn’t seem to stop my own deterioration.
I failed to thrive.
I tortured myself much longer than I should have, denying the solution that begged at my soul. Until finally one day, when I had almost completely wasted away, I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I had to face the facts. I just wasn’t getting enough son.
So I did what I should’ve done months earlier. I quit forcing myself to exist in unnatural conditions. I went outside of the artificial environment that was causing my soul to whither away.
And, finally, I was able to feel the wind on my face; feel it blow like the spirit. Experience the real, unfiltered light of the Son. Until slowly, oh so slowly, I began to regain my strength. Began to grow again.
I’m still a little rough around the edges. I bear the scars of my journey. But I’m living a more real life now.
I get a little dirty sometimes. I hang out with my true brothers and sisters. I weather. I survive.
And it only makes me love and appreciate my freedom more.
In a few weeks we’ll be moving out of the house that I first brought that lily home to. I’ve found an odd comfort in that one single bloom that it’s produced on the eve of our departure. It gives me hope. Reminds me that we still have a future, still have peace and beauty left to give.
And that I never want to fail to thrive again.
*Ironically (symbolically?) I ended up spontaneously gifting the lily to someone I’m not at peace with. Life is nothing if not unpredictable.