I’ve never been much of a gardener. Despite my best efforts, my thumb has been closer to brown than green. But I do have a couple of house plants that have managed to survive the various moves to different cities and states in the past few years.
These are hardy plants that seem to find a way to stay green and growing whether they get too much water or too little, too much sunlight or too little. Whether the rambunctious puppies knock over their pots and spill the soil across the carpet or they battle with wildflowers for enough soil for their roots, these house plants have continued to do what they do–clean the air, brighten their surroundings, and somehow–magically– sustain themselves by making their own food out of light.
Each Leaf Faces the Light
Sometimes I will take a house plant that has been sitting in one position for a while and turn it around in the same spot. Now all the leaves are suddenly facing the darkness, their undersides exposed. Then I watch as each leaf bends, leans, and shifts–slowly turning back toward the light.
In the moment, with the underside of each leaf exposed, the plant seems vulnerable and struggling. But given enough time and enough light, each leaf will inevitably turn. They can’t help themselves. It’s how they were created to be.
I can’t turn the leaves myself. My pace would be too quick and forceful, and the leaves would break off their stems and lose their vital connection with the whole plant. Instead, I have to wait and watch, allowing the leaves to turn at their natural pace and trusting that they will again face the light.
Slow Turning toward the Light
God is light, pure light… – 1 John 1:5, The Message
I sense a shifting in myself these days, a slow leaning, a gradual bend as I continue the contemplative spiritual practices that are bringing the most life in me in this season: centering prayer, lectio divina, and walking the labyrinth.
Like the house plant, the deep, hidden places within me are slowly turning toward the light as I pursue this course on my journey. I am gradually realizing the places within me that are facing the wrong way and beginning to shift toward the light. I am learning not to rush the process but to lean into the natural pace of healing and restoration.
Keep Leaning In
God’s invitation remains open to me to keep leaning into the light with these baby steps, to keep being willing to be willing, to keep trusting that God will remain God–gentle and tender with me–even when I am frustrated and impatient with myself.
God is inviting me to trust that this path I am on will eventually lead me to the place where I will discover that my irrational heart is at last ready to let go of my harsh expectations for myself and instead to really trust God to care for all the most precious, hidden places within me. I’m not there yet, but I am on my way.
What is God inviting in you today, my fellow pilgrims? How are you leaning toward the light?