I love Summer. All the smells and activities and SUN! Even in these times when our access to “all the things” has been stymied, there is still plenty of Summer shenanigans to be had.
But where I live, we have officially reached the point in Summer where we bypass checking what the actual temperature and instead go for what is our reality: the perceived heat index (said with that thunderous, echoing announcer voice, typically reserved for monster truck rallies and boxing matches.)
After all, who do they think they’re fooling by telling us the “actual” temperature is 85 degrees when it feels like 105 and rising; with humidity as thick and stifling as a wet woolen blanket.
Typically, this is also the time of year when I’m fighting hard to keep the flowers I lovingly tended in the Spring and early Summer from wilting into ash.
But not this year.
This year, I am actually winning the fight to keep them alive thanks in part to some top quality soil and plant food along with my wonderful neighbors who water these tender blossoms in my absence…even when I forget to ask them. (“Hey Gina! Are you out of town? Your flowers want to know!”)
What has really been helpful is learning which plants need what kind of exposure to light. Some need a little, while others crave a lot. This even required some transplanting of some plants from one pot to another; planting them with other flowers that would grow best in the same environment. All the flowers may not be exactly the same, but they require the same environment to thrive, nonetheless.
Some of the plants initially rebelled at the move- looking wilted and listless. But once they took root, they grew at a rapid pace.
And as I stepped back this weekend to take in the beauty of these blossoms, it occurred to me that people are a lot like these flowers. Or, at least I am.
Throughout my life, there have been times when I found myself in an environment that was unable to give me what I needed to grow. But I stayed anyway. I feared the uprooting. The function in my dysfunction was “safe enough” to survive - even though it was stifling.
You know how it goes, the pain of change felt harder than the pain of staying the same, and all that unhealthy and unhelpful jazz.
Initially, the knowledge of needing to change wasn’t enough to convince me. It was my faith that took me over a mountain I couldn’t climb on my own. God had to force my hand. He literally uprooted me from the soil I was planted in to prevent me from dying. And just like my flowers, I rebelled when transplanted. I felt weak and wilted.
But as my roots began to take hold in a new and nurturing environment, I found light and life, emboldened by others around me who were thriving; beautiful blooms that they were…and are. Each person in my new surroundings an example and encouragement to me and for me.
Throughout the years, I have learned the value of checking my soil; my source of light and paying attention to who is planted close to me. Sometimes, I still need to make changes. Even though I no longer wait for things to get so bad that God has to force my hand, at times the uprooting still leaves me listless. But that’s ok, I know that blossoming will come.
(I know analogies and metaphors can only take us so far…but we are riding this one all the way home, my friend!)
What about you? When was the last time you examined your “soil”?
When was the last time you thought about your exposure to the Light- or thought about how those planted closest to you are impacting your journey?
If its been awhile (or never) since you took that kind of inventory, I want to encourage you to take it today. Here are some questions that might help.
Do the people closest to me…
break confidence or hold my story in confidence?
celebrate and grieve with me well or only want “the dish” when I’m hurting?
support my tries or discourage me?
energize and encourage me or leave me feeling depleted and defeated?
With both myself and the people closest to me, am I…
honest about my health; emotionally, physically, and spiritually?
cultivating open and healthy relationships?
willing to share openly about my struggles and changes I need to make?
The good news is, that if you answered these questions and discovered a change is necessary, you are not a plant or a tree. You can move! You don’t have to wait for something earth shaking to come and forcibly transplant you.
You can do it yourself.
Find your healthy “soil” today. Remember to lean into The Light for strength. And find your people to help you flourish.
I can’t wait to watch you bloom!
Please consider sharing and liking this post if you enjoyed it!