May 25, 2014
The archeological dig (and resulting epiphany) occurred in the corner of the garage where garden materials and equipment are stored. A friend had come to make this possible, lending both her energy and good humor to my annual effort to make a plant-happy environment in the small space I have in which to garden.
In a stack of pots in the corner she uncovered one that had been stored as was when it came in from the patio. Bulbs had lain dormant and unseen in that pot when it was brought inside as winter approached. The pot (bulbs unnoticed) had been placed in a corner of the garage where light did not reach and water could not come, safely out of the way of human traffic.
The potting soil the pot contained was now desert-dry and rock-hard.
Nevertheless, when spring came those bulbs had remembered who they were—bulbs, and, remembering, began to do what they could with what they had where they were—hard, resistant soil, no light, no water—but they began to grow. To my utter astonishment, multiple pale light-starved leaves had struggled through the dry resistant soil, and now leaned weakly against the rim of the pot.
When spring came, in response to the call of life, those bulbs rose in the life-denying environment where they were and lived. Life as it existed in those bulbs was stronger than the hostile environment in which they found themselves.
Whatever their names may have been when they went into that pot, I have now christened them Lazarus Bulbs.
These remarkable Lazarus Bulbs are now in a place where they receive light—not too much, and not too directly—and water, carefully dispensed in small amounts. They have begun to receive some diluted plant food designed particularly for bulbs, and I talk to them gently, encouragingly, and with great respect several times each day and learn from them.
Clearly, the Lazarus Bulbs have not escaped the damage that their experience caused. I know too that their great trauma and resulting injury are likely to prove more than my limited skill and resources can mend. Nevertheless, I wait with hope. It is too soon to know what the seed of life that is within them may yet produce now that they live where God’s gift of light, air, water and some special food can reach them.
But whatever the length of the tomorrow of their lives, they have triumphed. They have lived out of the essence of what they were designed to do in defiance of the “impossible” in their environment.
They teach me.
Thinking with you today that all of us are called, like my Lazarus Plants, to live out the life within us that we have been given whatever the environment in which we find ourselves.
And thinking with you too that this kind of authenticity and resilience is far easier to talk about than to live.
See you next week.