This is my desk plant. My wife bought me this plant while on a visit to Ikea almost 3 years ago, and it has sat in that place on my desk since. For the most part, it is green and lush and happy, which makes me happy. Also, this is a miracle plant. It is a miracle it is still alive because I am a notorious plant killer. This is plant number 3 for me, and so, everyday it remains more than a brown husk is a win. Honestly, I rarely remember to water, and then when I do, I go on a bender and water with a fire hose till I have drowned the thing (okay slight exaggeration).
Needless to say, I proud of my little plant that could. I have brought it back from the edge of death so many times, I have thought about naming it Lazarus. (Then I remember it is a plant and come to my senses; talking to plants is foolish.) The little leafy beast has come back from death so many times that honestly it has become a mini reminder of life in the face of death. I live in Minnesota where I don’t see a green leaf or blade of grass for about 5 months out of the year. The little green thing in my office reminds me that soon the world will be resurrected in springtime and life will return to this barren tundra. As silly as it sounds, my office plant reminds me of the paschal mystery, resurrection, my salvation, and the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Really? Yes really.
I think we often need little reminders throughout our day of what is most important. When I get wrapped up in little day-to-day problems, it is important for me to have little reminders of my bigger purpose, my mission. I have a St. Benedict Medal that is attached to this very long chain, and it isn’t attached right. Instead of being able to move on the chain it is locked into the one link. So as I move throughout the day it gets twisted to the point that it becomes this knot of chain till it eventually starts to tug on my chest hair (TMI?). Then I have to pull out my chain and unravel it. Every time I do, I am reminded of God’s love for me, my faith, and my church. I say quick prayer. Not a big deal, but it is an important reminder a couple times a day to take a break and pray.
What is awesome is that if we really look, we can see these little reminders of God all day long. God is constantly using our world to remind us what is most important. We call this the Sacramentality of all creation. All these created things can point us back to the Creator, back to God. All these visible things can remind us of the invisible. All these natural things can help us experience the supernatural. Obviously, it would be wrong to start to see and then treat these little reminders as God. (Not going to worship my plant.) But by putting things in the proper order, we can use our everyday things to help us stay focused on eternal things.
So how do we do this? Three things help me recognize God’s calling out to me through my world – Pause, Pray, and Practice. Pause: it takes time to think theologically about our everyday world, so when you think you see something that directs your mind to God, pause. Stop and reflect on how your “clue” (kids at play, sunlight through a cloud, beautiful song, tasty meal, cut off in traffic, etc), is reminding you of God. Pray: Thank God for that moment, ask forgiveness, praise God for beauty, ask for help, whatever your prayer needs to be, just pray quick. Practice: Do this a lot. It is going to take time to develop your supernatural eyes. Do it everyday and all day. It takes some practice to see a barely alive desk plant as a symbol of the Resurrection.
What if we all took the time think deeply a couple times a day? How would our lives and our world be different? Know that I am praying that your “daily” lead you to contemplate the “forever”.
You know I did name a plant Lazarus once. But he died one to many times and I couldn’t bring him back the last time. I am also a plant killer…but seriously, thanks for the reminder. Seeing everything in my life through the eyes of faith is a habit I need to renew.