Saturday, August 25, 2007

what Mother Teresa and my peace lily have in common

I have one plant - I've had it since 2001. It's a peace lily and I like it very much; it has lots of meaning for me. However, I am not a good plant tender, gardener, what have you...My practice is the "drought and drown" method of caring for my plant. Even my 4 1/2 year old son tries valiantly, but, inevitably it looks so droopy and sad, leaning down the sides of it's pot (the same pot and soil I got it in 6 years ago) that I plop it in the sink and give it a healthy drink of water. A week ago, I thought I had really let it go too long - so convinced that it was indeed, a gonner, that I left it alone for another few days with the intention to throw it out. When I finally just couldn't put it off any longer, I couldn't bear to throw it out. I put it in the sink and gave it 2 healthy doses of water. I went out for a while and when I came back, it was still droopy. The next morning, Jonathan and I left for 4 days of summer vacation.

Driving back from Lewes, DE I heard on NPR about Mother Teresa's letters about to be published. The radio story talked about Mother Teresa having long dry spells of feeling disconnected, cut off from God. Theses letters seem astonishing to a world who assumed she must have felt close to God in order to do the work that she did. Despite feeling abandoned by God, she continually sought Christ through prayer; she sought counsel and spiritual guidance from others. She continued to search and feel in darkness, and, at times, she questioned God's existence. For whatever reason, Mother Teresa experienced the long, long night of darkness. She came to understand her search for God as evidence of God's hidden presence in her life.

I think there are a lot more people able to identify with Mother Teresa today;
many who have not been visited as she was with a voice directing her vocation;
many who have not felt, actually felt, God fill them with a divine presence and love. And so, many who don't know what it is like to have it taken away.

My thoughts drifted to my peace lily and how I couldn't quite give up on it...

Imagine my surprise and delight when I walked into the house and the peace lily had perked up and was looking green and healthy again. It's long dark night was over.

Mother Teresa and hearty peace lily plants bring hope that light and life will return to our dark and dry times of life.


Dibley said...

Congratulations on the peace lily recovery! last week was a week of small miracles.

cmartc said...

It's good to be reminded that even the saints had their up's and down's as they went marching along. Thanks for sharing your lovely peace lily story. carolyn

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Judging from the picture, your lily probably needs a larger pot. It wouldn't dry out as quickly. Not sure of the spiritual significance of this, but it's worth a try on the botanical level. Maybe a way to celebrate your upcoming move to new digs....