|Photo © Diane Weidenbenner|
Spring has sprung and it has me thinking about gardens. Buds have appeared on our lilacs, irises are springing up and the roses have green, velvety leaves. I can’t wait to get a whiff of the lilac-perfumed air from our bedroom window.
I also begin thinking of new plants to add to the landscape. Do they require a lot of care? Since we’ve had a drought these past few summers, how much water will they require? I have a lot of enthusiasm at the beginning of the season when it’s sunny and warm (and not humid.) As the summer progresses, and it gets muggy and hot, my enthusiasm wanes and it’s harder for me to want to spend time outside. Mosquitos tend to feast on me during dusk, which is when I prefer to spend time outdoors.
That’s where hubby Joe comes in and saves the day. He keeps our plants watered and weeded when I can’t bear to spend one more minute in the heat. He’s the reasons that our plants are still alive.
Gardens and springtime remind me of friendships. Good, trusted friends are beautiful gifts to me, just as flowering plants are. Plants require renewable resources (rain, nutrients in the soil, sunshine) to live a healthy life. Friendships need ongoing love and support in order to grow stronger, become deeper and last a lifetime.
Plants and friendships can be perennial or annual. Perennial friendships can last through a specific season in life such as one formed at work or church. If that relationship doesn’t grow beyond that specific life event, then it may not survive if circumstances change. However, I have some relationships that have crossed various boundaries, such as work-to-home or family engagements. These friendships develop stronger roots so that when circumstances change, our friendship can withstand the change in environments.
You’ve heard the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt – “Women are like tea bags…”? It’s also true of friendships. “Friendships are like tea bags. You don’t know how strong they are until they are put in hot water.” Friendships that experience tough times either get stronger or they die. I admit that I haven’t been the best friend to some wonderful people in my life during busy times or times of change and the relationship has faded away. I regret that and am sad to see those relationships end. Some relationships require more care than I or the other person can offer. And, some relationships get transplanted to another garden and God brings new relationships and plants into my life.
This spring I ask God to help me to be attentive to those plants, and friendships, that need my attention. I ask that I will have the resources, time and energy to give to others as needed. And, when it gets hot and humid, I pray that I can withstand the sweat and mosquitos in order to invest my love and care in others who God has put in my garden and along my path. Let’s have plenty of rain and sun and rich soil to grow strong in all our relationships.