There are lots of things that come to mind when you think of strength. A plant is usually not one, but I am here to set the record straight. House plants, and plants in general, are some of the most adaptive and strong organisms out there. They are able to do many things that are seemingly miraculous and could teach us a great many life lessons. What lessons could we possibly learn from a plant? I am going to answer that question, and you will never look at that potted neighbor of yours the same again.
The first lesson that plants can teach us is how to use just about everything that comes into our life. When the sun shines, the plants turn that sunlight into energy. Based on how I feel during the winter, I might do this as well. What about when it rains? Plants soak up that water and use that as well. They put both of them to work. Both the good and the seemingly bad. In everyone’s life there are moments when a little B.S. seems to come around. You lose a job. You have relationship challenges. Whatever it might be, these are like the manure of life. What do plants do when you cover them with the stuff? They find the good in it they can use and end up stronger for it. In fact, the more manure you cover a plant with, the better it grows! When life gives us a little ‘manure’ we can do the same thing. Find the good, or at least something we can use, and force ourselves to grow.
As I was pondering the amazing aspects of plants, another analogy came to mind. One of the wonderful things plants do for us is an exchange of gas. They take carbon dioxide, a gas that is considered waste, combines it with water and turns those two things into glucose and oxygen, respectively. I am, of course, simplifying the process greatly. In essence, they take a waste gas, do a little rearranging, and release something refreshing that helps other things live! They also use the glucose for fuel to help them survive. This reminded me of the negative gases we all face. I am not talking about being stuck in the elevator with a man who consumed too much Mexican food the night before. No, I am talking about the gossip we hear. It is the negative attitudes we encounter. The people always telling us the sky is falling. If we could take the ‘waste gas’ they expel, combine it with hope and the good that we know is the truth, we could emit something far more healthy. Words of encouragement and praise are like the oxygen for the soul. Being able to turn all of that negativity around and instead speak hope, love and encouragement will make us feel good as well. This is kind of like the glucose the plant uses to help itself grow.
Using both the sunshine and the rain of our lives is not easy. Taking those ‘manure moments’ and using them for growth, also not easy. How about absorbing all of that ‘waste gas’ of gossip, negativity, doom and gloom and tweaking it a little so that we end up releasing hope, love and encouragement? If you think that is easy, you must have never tried it. Here is the simple fact. All of these situations are possible to do. House plants do it all of the time. When they do it well, guess what happens? They grow a lot! When they stop doing them, even for a little while, they begin to die. We could be the same way. Let us put everything to work for us. Let us use it all. The sun, the rain, the manure and the waste gas of life. Let the plants of the world remind us that when you put your environment to work for you, instead of falling victim to it, you will experience a vast amount of growth.