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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Of Things Not Seen



What, oh what have I done?” Shaking my head, I silently berated myself as I viewed the two branched stubs sticking pathetically out of the soil. Previously, these had been poinsettias. Technically, they still were, although any resemblance to the lovely green and red Christmas plants was totally gone. Only bare stubs remained.
During my growing-up years in Montana, I was always surrounded by poinsettias at Christmas. My parents owned a floral/greenhouse business and for many years my father grew them. He shipped in the small starts, planted, watered, fed, and babied them. Poinsettias are fussy - they require just the right amount of daylight and dark hours plus certain day/night temperatures to bloom. My father gave them what they needed and fretted for months, but he believed they would come through. To attempt such a thing in single-paned glass houses in Montana winters takes believing - otherwise one would never bother. He bothered and believed, and each year the plants survived and flourished.


Some years ago, the director of the small alternative school I taught at gave us two women teachers each a small poinsettia for Christmas. Jack wasn’t real comfortable giving people things, but he loved plants, so this seemed appropriate to him. That May, Jack died of a massive stroke following successful bypass surgery. He was only 59. In June, when we closed the school not knowing what, if any, future it had, the poinsettias were still very small. The other teacher did not want hers - the memory was too painful, so I took them both. I believed I could keep them going. I so wanted to...


Both plants grew and produced marvelous red blooms for several years. Although not beginning until January, they continued well into July. This particular summer they were overgrown and scraggly-looking, so I sought information from one of my favorite old gardening books: Crockett’s Victory Garden. In the late 70’s my husband and I were great fans of this gardening show on PBS. Jim Crockett was our kind of gardener - gentle, down-to-earth, and very knowledgeable. “Cut ‘em down.” he said.” Cut ‘em down to within two to three inches of the soil and by fall you’ll have stout, healthy plants.” I trusted Crockett - all of his other tips had worked for us. Still, as I painfully eyed these sad plants, I had my doubts. I figured I’d either killed them or they’d do exactly as Crockett said.


They did. Two strong, lush green plants sat in our kitchen window that December and I trusted that the red would follow in due time. It did.

Belief...Bother...Trust...And through them all - FAITH.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear.
Hebrews 11.1 and 3

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