Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Potted Plants

I did a lot of gardening this last weekend. I will have to post pictures when everything matures and blooms a little bit. It is going to be beautiful. As I was transplanting the plants I had bought at the nursery I got to thinking about all the hard work that made my little purchases possible. (in the gardening world that is...thanks Dave for the money in the bank) Anyway...I am planting these marvelous plants that all took months of care and attention in order to get to the point of growth they are at. For example...do you know how hard it must be to grow a perennial (say my personal favorites, scented geraniums) when it is still freezing and constantly rainy outside. Thank goodness for greenhouses! But even in a greenhouse and with a green thumb raising plants before their season must be hard work. Just imagine how many times the plant I bought at the store must have been re potted before I actually bought it and put it in the ground. Without being re potted the plant becomes root bound and it cannot continue to progress and would eventually die. But then on the other hand after several careful replantings a plant finally makes it into the ground where it can flourish for many long years (unless it's a perennial). As I thought about all the hard work that made my garden possible I thought how similar it is to missionary work and just spiritual progress in general.

We have all heard the versus from Alma in the BOM where faith is compared to a small seed, that if planted in fertile soil will bear good fruit. But it really isn't that easy. I have two examples to share. One is personal to our family. We struggle with scripture study. We have "planted" that seed many times with at least good faith that we will be able to make it a good habit. However, our little seed never really blooms and if it manages a flower or two it certainly hasn't reseeded itself and become a permanent plant in our garden. But each time we try I think we do better. It is like the potted plant. After each re potting the plant grows bigger and stronger until eventually it will sustain itself without careful watch care. Dave and I have just finished a book on tape about family scripture study by my favorite speaker Gene Cook. It was recommended by my sister-in-law Liz and I loved it. So we are getting ready to try again. Taking a fragile plant and giving it new life in hopes that the pot and the soil that we plant it in this time will be enough to sustain it.

I really like to think of this analogy with missionary work too. We have a great family friend that is investigating religion. For a while she was interested in the LDS church but has since started looking elsewhere. It was hard for me and very sad as we were so excited to have her join the church. But then this last weekend I though of this little plant idea and it has helped. The church statisticians say that it takes most times seven positive encounters with the Church before a person is ready to accept the Gospel. I think my family was only number two with my friend. Each of those experiences with the Church is like re potting a plant. Maybe each time a persons faith and testimony grows until finally, after much tender loving care, pruning, fertilizing, mulching and of course the re potting they are ready to accept the Church. I would much rather my friend take her time to grow and be strengthened so that when / if she joins the "garden" she can stand strong. Thinking in terms of plants I think sometimes people don't ever grow out of their pots. They become root bound around a small little piece of soil. Eventually they wilt away and die. How much better to grow continually, precept upon precept with lots of soil to spread your tender roots. When she's ready she wont need stakes to protect her from the wind. The strength of her fellow garden plants will be enough.

What do you think?
Does the analogy work, or am I pushing it?

2 comments:

So Lost And Found said...

Jen, you have some more cool pictures! Love the rain and the flowers. Love the blog!

Bill

Blaire said...

i vote good analogy:)

I totally know what you mean about scripture study. We are a total rollercoaster. Sometimes we're doing really well, and sometimes we're not. I think the most important part is that we're always trying.

did you take the flower picture? it's really good. I totally missed you PS on your last post. I must of been reading that one while Preston was screaming in my face:) See, all mothers insanity with their children. it wouldn't be motherhood if we were sane:)

this is a really long comment, sorry.