Me, My Plant and God!

I’ve been taking a Spiritual Writing class at Virginia Theological Seminary since January 29th. The first class was cancelled due to an ice storm, but our instructor sent us an assignment to make up for the missed class. The assignment was to begin writing three pages (called Morning Pages) every morning for the six weeks of the class that captured any and all thoughts that came to our minds. We were also supposed to go on a weekly Artist Date alone where we experienced some sort of art and reflected on the spiritual nature of the art form.

Then this week, the assignment changed. We were to continue writing our three Morning Pages but to now focus on the spirituality of some of the mundane things around us. Our instructor asked us to write about places that helped to form us, to describe in detail the places where we actually wrote our three pages (and asked us to change the location of where we wrote several times this week) and to describe in detail some of the things that were in the vicinity of where we wrote. We were to describe something that specifically stood out to us.

For the first two weeks, I wrote my Morning Pages only in my kitchen, the place were I spend about 70% of the time when I’m at home. There are some really mundane things in my kitchen – typical appliances, a tv, food and drink and Plants which line my window sill. The most interesting of those things, and what I chose to write about first were my plants. I was never a plant person, EVER. That was Tim’s job because I killed everything that arrived in our kitchen alive. Then when Tim died in July 2016, I received five plants as gifts. I was determined NOT to kill these plants.

On the first anniversary of Tim’s death, those plants were STILL alive! I was proud! They were STILL alive at the end of year two as well!!! Now as we go into the third year, almost all of the plants are now in larger planters, having outgrown their original homes. So this week I wrote about one of those plants in my Morning Pages. I’m ashamed to admit that in examining the plant closely, I discovered something I hadn’t noticed before. The plant I chose to write about isn’t the tallest plant in my window, BUT it is the BRIGHTEST of all the plants. It is the GREENEST of the color green. It’s the one that catches your attention as soon as you come into the kitchen. I believe it is the plant that represents my life and the one that God intends for me to focus on for strength to get through this life. This plant has the largest leaves, the brightest roots and has vines that has grown down to the floor.

As I focused on my writing assignment, I began trying to describe the plant in great detail. I realized that the vines of the plant were tangled together. When I untangled the vines, there were not just one, but three very distinct vines. As I examined the vines it struck me that they represent my life almost perfectly. The vines are thick, and tough and go in all sorts of directions. I believe the longest one represents my 60 years of life. It has about 20 very beautiful leaves on it, that just seem to scream LIFE!! There is a vine right next to one that represents my life, and I didn’t realize it was a separate vine until I started to untangle it. Turns out it wraps around the first vine, and has about 15 leaves some of which shine brightly even in minimal light. That vine for me represents God in my life. That vine has been holding up the vine that represents my life, wrapped around me the entire time… but in the background, unseen until I began to look closely. Isn’t that where God is in all of our lives? In the background until we need him, but holding us up whether we are paying attention or not.

The last major vine on my BRIGHTEST plant is one that has three bright sets of leaves that are growing in different directions.. For me that vine is the work that God has given me to do. The first set represents my chosen vocation that I’ve been involved in for more than 30 years. The second set, which has small leaves that grow each day represents my Alzheimer’s work. Those leaves are just starting to stand out, making their own path along the floor of my kitchen.. much like the path I’m making throughout the US as I travel to speak. The last section I believe represents my growth since Tim’s death. The leaves are small but strong, and have splotches of yellow on them interrupting the bright green… for me those yellow splotches represent my grief… still there, but no longer overwhelming me as it had when Tim first died.

This Writing as a Spiritual Practice class has focused my attention on all things that surround me, and has allowed me to see God in all things – and all people. I’m so proud of myself not only for signing up for this class, but also for stepping outside of my comfort zone to learn a new way to approach writing. If someone had told me before this class started that I’d be writing about the spirituality of a plant I wouldn’t have believed it. Yet here we are, and I’m thrilled that I am allowing myself see and experience the awe in any and everything that God created. So Amen to that.



2 thoughts on “Me, My Plant and God!

  1. Loretta, this post is priceless.

    I almost desire only to read and reflect – to take in your words and ruminate on them, uninhibited by the clutter of my thoughts of what I might say/share in response…

    I did write “almost”!

    This post, again, is priceless. Rich in imagery, physical and spiritual. Rich in metaphor, thus, laden with meaning of that constant (though, oft, I think, unseen) intersection of the daily and mundane and the eternal and cosmic, and, therefore, gushing to overflowing with abiding insights on your (and our) existential reality. That is, how life can be viewed when being in the present moment (and not gazing always to the past or scanning, imagining the future). Thank you for this.

    This post, too, in my view, makes for a fine sermon. In a word, this’ll preach!


    • Thanks soooo much Paul!! When you use the word Priceless I believe it!! I am learning so much about metaphor and imagery in this class. I hadn’t expected this course to impact me in the way it has. Who knew I plant could say so much!!?? When I come into the kitchen the plant just leaps off the window sill at me. The leaves don’t go up, they go out….. as they we go out into this world every day. The leaves and vines are tangled just as we all are in our relationships and in our world. I’ll keep searching and writing and I owe you a lot for encouraging my writing. I’ll hold to your words as I continue in this class. One of the things I’ve written about in terms of places that helped to form me is about Clevedale. I’m not quite ready to share it yet, But I will at some point.

      Much love and thanks to you!

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