Their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaved do not wither. In all they do, they prosper. (Psalm 1:2-3)
When our daughter moved to Florida in November, she brought her house plants with her. While they had thrived in her New York apartment, they appeared to go into a funk and headed into a downward spiral on our back porch. In trying to diagnose the problem, we assessed whether they were getting enough sun or too much of it, we wondered whether they had been getting enough water or too much of it. We even spoke to them lovingly encouraging them to perk up. Still, they were wilting away day by day. David and Sarah brainstormed about possible solutions until they decided to try to repot them with some fertilizer to see if that might help. That solution worked and they are now thriving in sunny Florida.
That got me to thinking about our lives. How many times have we stayed in places or situations that seemed fine and comfortable but were, in fact, stunting our growth? I ran across a little phrase that I have been pondering lately: “Stop shrinking yourself to fit places you have outgrown.” If I have discovered anything about this past year, it is the power of life reflection. While I was just as busy in ministry, it was a different kind of busy. I wasn’t running off to meetings or doing constant hospital visits. Instead, I was writing much more, taking the time to reflect with you about this experience with COVID. I spoke with you about the impact of social isolation, the loss of hugs, the longing for community. I heard the pain and I felt it, too.
I finally had enough quiet to reflect on what is most important. And I realized that my life has been repotted, too. If I open my eyes to the possibilities, I can see that there is a bigger container for all of us. It might not be as comfortable as the one we were used to, but this new pot has plenty of room for us to grow and thrive again. As we begin this new year, I invite you to imagine a year full of possibilities for growth in new ways. Instead of lamenting what is no more, I want to imagine what can be. In the words of the psalmist, I yearn to discover new ways to thrive and prosper by the streams of water, that my life might yield fruit in this next season of 2021.
For those on the healthcare front lines battling weariness
Spirit of the Living God, we thank you for the promise of a fresh start, as seeds of renewed faith take root in our furrowed lives. We invite you to clear out the dead growth of the past, break up the tangled roots of routine, and stir in rich nutrients of vision and challenge. Then, bury your Word deep within us, watering and tending us until new life blossoms. Amen.