the near-death experience of my african violets

Posted: November 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

When I opened the door to my office at work this morning, I knew something was wrong before I even stepped into the room.  A blast of hot air roared over me.  I DO keep my office warmer than those around me, but this was more than that. 

The needle of the thermostat was buried at its high end, which is 90 degrees.  I promise you, my office was well over 100 degrees.  How do I know?

Everything in my office – desktop, doorknobs, computer keyboard – EVERYTHING was hot to the touch.  Not “warm.”  HOT. 

The honey in my plastic bear that I keep for tea was the consistency of tap water.

My chocolate covered cranberries were in a liquid state. 

But worst of all, my African Violets appeared to have all four lost their lives.  They were flat.  Not the slightest bit of lift anywhere.  Dark, heavy, and flat. 

Soon enough, help arrived for the overpoweringly hot air.  Something had broken inside my heating unit.  It was fixed and the window was cracked to let some cool air in.

I moved my violets away from the window that has always caused them to bloom gloriously.  Had to get them away from the shock of cool air.  I wasn’t ready to give up on them yet.  Carefully, gently I gave them each drinks of water, in their saucers, since this is how African Violets drink.  I didn’t have MUCH hope – they looked utterly murdered.  But an investment of a bit more water and a few minutes of time was cheap enough.  It couldn’t hurt to try. 

One of them began perking up pretty quickly.  Two others showed a few signs of life more slowly.  The fourth one still looked pretty hopeless. 

Every time their trays would run dry, I would put more water in, urging them to drink.  Waiting and watching as slowly they gained varying levels of lift.  That fourth pot, the most wretched one of all, called for more drastic action.  I got my scissors and cut out everything that looked absolutely, positively beyond repair.  I didn’t want the plant wasting resources trying to save what was beyond repair.  I cut and cut, hoping to let it channel its energies into saving a few parts – enough to rebuild from. 

As of quitting time, one was looking pretty strong.  Still very dark, and darn droopy as compared to its usual healthy state.  But it won’t lose more than a few leaves.

One had a strong part in the middle, standing nearly at attention.  It may lose a lot more leaves than I can save.  But there will be a plant there still, even after I give it what ever “haircut” it needs tomorrow. 

One was still alarmingly droopy, but it was still lifting a little and a little more, feebly, but trying.  I won’t know until tomorrow if it’s going to rally or give up. 

The fourth one – I don’t know.  It lifted a lot, but it still looks utterly dead.  The leaves are shriveled even on the best parts.  I don’t know if it can make it through.  I just kept giving it drinks and time.  We will see.  Hopefully I will return tomorrow to find that it has rallied.  Even if it comes out pathetic, if the whole thing doesn’t die, I can probably grow it back into something beautiful with a lot of time and patience.  It sure did have pretty blooms.  It is worth waiting for the return of its vitality. 

Karen the Gardener considers God the Father.  Isn’t my array of abused, suffocated, battered violets so like we are?  Life and circumstances come along and we are flattened.  We look dead – we appear to be beyond redemption.  Beyond ever getting up, ever being beautiful, ever overflowing with radiant life.  Karen the Gardner appreciates God the Father.  I know how patiently He has tended to me, at times when in the natural it had to look like any investment in me was a waste. 

Karen the Gardener wants to be as tender and patient with people as she is with her flowers – as loving and careful as God is with broken people.  I want to believe in their potential, in their ability to rally if loved well.  I want to give them all the time that they need for healing, and not stomp on them just because they don’t look the way I think they should look, in the time that seems appropriate *to me* – often a very short time.  I want to be willing to help them do any pruning work that might save their very own lives.  But I don’t want to cut off their hope in the process. 

He’s so good to us.  He’s so much more patient than we are.  He understands so much better than we do, that just because we LOOK like a hopeless, dead thing…doesn’t mean all hope is lost. 

My prayer today is that Karen the Gardener – and all of you other gardeners as well – will grow greatly in His grace and mercy. 

  1. Pam Spangler says:

    God is ever faithful Karen. Pastor Luke preached on grace and mercy this past Sunday! Must be on God’s mind to get through to us. Blessings!

  2. Cindy Maynard says:

    I pray your African Violets make it through this trial. And I pray as we all face trials, we are able to see God the Father as our strength, our Rock, our protection, our drink of living water!

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