When presented with the opportunity to plant little growing things, I’ll pass. Every time.
So when entering a meeting where repotting root-bound plants was the focus of our time together, I cringed. I valued the illustration it represented. Life in transition. What moving from one place to another, one season to another, one epoch adventure to another can look like.
I didn’t want to get my hands dirty.
Gardening is messy. Dirt under my nails. Mud shows up in places it shouldn’t be. When finished, cleaning up is always necessary.
Little pots of purple mums had been purchased for this exercise. All needing bigger pots than they were in. All looking at certain death if they weren’t given more room to grow. (A little bit of drama helps make gardening palatable.)
The picture of transition is moving from a place of comfort, of being known, to a new place of not-yet-understood structure, no definitive status and a sense of uncertainty. All part of change.
Being repotted in life.
Engaging with people and being willing to expose my dirt is messy.
Folks in our group transplanted the little mums. Ripping them out of their familiar tiny pots; giving them space to grow in bigger ones. Lauren delicately separated roots, putting the plant gently in the new pot. Patting the dirt down. Mike, on the other hand, was much tougher with his plant. Methodically removing dirt, separating the roots, pressing the plant firmly in its new pot.
Difference in approach. Lauren didn’t want to get her hands dirty. Mike took the all-boy approach. Dirt is good.
Every plant got a new pot. New home. A chance to grow and thrive.
Not all the mums will do well. Some will be forgotten or overwatered. Some will get knocked over and not survive the trauma. All will begin somewhere new. For now.
We’ve all been potted somewhere. Where we begin is rarely where we stay. As we grow, there are times when we’ll flourish because our pot is the right size, and we’re being nourished as a healthy plant should be.
There are times when we’ll wilt due to stress, pain, loss. We’ll lose leaves. Life may feel dry. Our roots will feel weak. The willingness to invite others into the dirt, to own that we have dirt, is hard.
Does anyone want to get their hands dirty with our stuff?
God chooses to. He cherishes working the soil around us so we can grow. Nurturing us so we can thrive.
It may require pruning. Cutting back some of what we think is good to make room for what’s necessary. Pulling off dead blossoms–those things we hang on to because they’ve become part of our identity–encourages growth.
God never hesitates to get His hands dirty with our stuff. He delights in causing us to grow and flourish.
I need to be willing to get my hands dirty. Engaging in the dirt of those around me. And my own.
If the pot is right, why not?