I was lying in bed Monday morning, somewhere between sleep and thoughts of what I was going to wear to work, when I heard a loud crash in another part of my apartment. Stunned and shaken, I jumped out of bed and stumbled from room to room, trying to figure out what had just happened. I saw nothing out of place in the kitchen or the dining area. The laundry room was all clear. I went to my living room and there it was: My orchid was on the floor, the green pot in which it sits broken, exposed roots everywhere.
My first reaction was frustration. (I’m still working on not becoming frustrated over things I can’t control anyway.) I knew Bijou, the kitten I recently adopted, was the culprit behind the mess on my hardwood floor. I’ve had this plant for more than a year. I wanted it to bloom again and had grown frustrated with the stalled shoots that never reached maturity, in spite of my regular watering after I bought it. As I picked up the shards of pottery and the parched root system from the floor, I saw the lesson in that moment.
In my frustration with the growth of my plant, I had neglected it in recent months. All an orchid requires is warmth, a bit of sun each day and a few ice cubes one day a week. Sounds easy enough, right? Yet, I had not watered it in weeks. It is still green and gorgeous and sprouting new leaves, but the shoots didn’t grow and they certainly didn’t come close to creating that beautiful arc that they do before they grow blossoms.
How often do we do that in other areas of our life? Perhaps we become weary with our relationships, our health, our finances or the absence of those things. It’s tempting to neglect areas of our lives that require more time, effort, patience, vulnerability and understanding than we are willing to give. When it comes to relationships, that can manifest in the form of failed friendships, family feuds and lost loves. We can also become frustrated and complacent with ourselves and deny our bodies the nourishing food, regular exercise and spiritual care we all need and so deserve. That often leads to literal and figurative brokenness and a dry, parched existence, making it unlikely that we will ever achieve the growth we say we want.
Imagine how different the world would be if we tended to the important things in our lives, rather than waiting for things to break, relationships to end, people to die, lab results to arrive or doors to close.
What in your life requires your attention? What can you do today to further engage so that you can see the growth and manifest the changes that crave you just as much as you crave them? The only thing we have is this moment. Right here and now.
Don’t wait until things break before you realize what needs a fix.