In my garden, there grows a plant.
Actually in my garden there grows a great many plants as well as various types of weeds, grass and weird viney things, but there is one plant in particular that I am kind of in love with. There was two but one died, and that is a whole other metaphor on which I would prefer not to dwell.
How that (those) plants got into my garden, is a rather comical story, which, unfortunately, due to a clause I signed at work, I am not able to fully recount. What I can tell you, however, is that due to a rather funny practical joke, I one day returned home with two buckets each with a plant cutting inside them.
Now I’m a bit of a bleeding heart when it comes to plants, and these two babies looked so sad and dilapidated, that as soon as was possible, I determined to remove them from their buckets of doom, and put them in a nice sunny part of my garden, where they could grow and thrive and live happily ever after. However upon removing them from said buckets, I realised that this bright future may, in fact, be completely impossible. I was looking at two cuttings that had not seen a scrap of real sunlight in a week, had no drainage and had put down not one tiny, baby root.
Surely the imminent transfer would kill them.
Ever the optimist, I looked after those plants with the same dedication I look after my children, watering them several times a day, speaking nicely to them and praying for some kind of miracle. One plant seemed to be doing ok (ironically that’s the one that has now passed on), but the other not so much. It’s beautiful purple leaves began to wilt and die, turning an ugly shade of brown at the base, before traveling to the tip of the leaf. It was the definition of the lost cause.
I’m not sure when it happened; I assume literally over night, because on about the third or fourth day, I suddenly noticed that one of the plant’s leaves was defying gravity and destiny, and standing perfectly erect, and a wonderful shade of mauve. In the midst of all the death and carnage, this one leaf was standing tall, and not only choosing to live, but flat out refusing to die. It was then that I realised, the plant had allowed all the other leaves to fall away, in order to just get this one standing. All it’s energy was poured into the one leaf that could draw enough moisture and sunlight to nourish the entire plant.
A funny thing happened when I had this realisation; I kind of fell in love with that plant, on account of feeling like I was intimately acquainted with it. You see, at the time of all this happening, I was just a few weeks off being completely weaned off my antidepressants, a goal I had had for quite a while, but never reached. I was still feeling slightly vulnerable, but also strong and ready to deal with any negativity that headed my way, without letting it take me down completely.
It made me realise how much I was like that plant.
Going through the worst of my depression, I was very much like that transplanted greenery. To those around me, they would have seen me cutting myself off from constant social interaction, and responsibilities, and been concerned that I wasn’t myself. The truth is though, like my little cutting, I was just putting all my energy into one thing; staying alive and making it through the day. If I could manage it successfully, maybe that in itself would give me enough strength to grow those leaves again. To literally branch out into being who I’m supposed to be.
Slowly, slowly, with the help of Zoloft, and constantly reminding myself of truth when depression told me its lies, I grew another leaf. And then another, and another and another. So that now, three and a half years after wilting completely, I’ve pretty much got myself a whole bunch of greenery again.
Except, of course, for one major difference. Both me and my purple leaved miracle, are now completely different plants than we used to be. We’ve left stuff behind us, and grown ourselves differently, even if there are some similarity’s. We may look the same, but both of us have changed significantly, and, I’m going to say it, for the better.
Thinking and reflecting on these past three years, I realise that whilst at the time, it felt hard and impossible and like the worst thing in the world, I am so glad I was forced to walk that road. I thank God for not only letting me go through that, but actually taking me through. I could never have seen how much it would change me in my inner core, or how much I needed changing. What I have learnt through that journey has given me more compassion, grace and mercy than I have ever had, nor thought that I needed.
And for that, I am so grateful.
Sometimes, we are cruising along through life, and we find ourselves cut off from our plant, transplanted, abused and finally put in a position where we can possibly grow with enough tender love and care. It’s not something we would choose for ourselves, but in the end, those rough times can be what change us into something infinitely better.
We go from hanging on by a bare thread, to being rebuilt, completely new and different, but much closer to who it is that we were meant to be.
Something strong but delicate, broken but perfect and scarred beyond comprehension, but gloriously beautiful.
In my garden there grows a plant.
Sometimes I think that plant is me.