Perhaps it was the clear blue sky morning, or maybe watching my husband head out back to do more renovations around the shed...or maybe it was simply the gentle prod of the Holy Spirit?
Probably the Holy Spirit using both to prod me into a time of separation, though not in the way you may imagine.
Yesterday we'd driven north of town to an older woman's home where she grew, tended and sold healthy fruit trees, shrubs and indoor plants right out front of her vine laden verandah. Much of her skillfully tended stock sat in water baths under a huge sway of shade cloth, something we use a lot of here in the tropics to prevent tender plants from burning their leaves or even shriveling away to nothing due to the intense heat and scorching sun of late spring, summer and early to mid autumn.
We chose some medium size citrus trees we'd like to plant and arranged to come back next weekend with the trailer to take them home, but I also spied a beautiful indoor plant for the front entrance that wasn't too large to fit in the back of Jeep so we were able to take it straight away. I left it in hubby's shed overnight, still undecided as to which ceramic glazed pot I could transplant it into before bringing into the house next day.
By breakfast this morning the sky was clear and bright, the air hot and humid, but my husband is not one to let weather stand in his way and so off he went to the back of our 1/4 acre and continued demolishing the structures which need to be removed.
Before attending to the new plant I decided to brave the sun and do a tidy up of all our potted plants which sheltered in various garden beds and along the undercover area at the back of the house. They all needed water and fertiliser, and some required a bit of a prune too. Once that was done I went inside for a cool drink of water and whilst leaning against the kitchen bench my eyes fell upon two very crowded little pots that have followed us from house to house for a number of years. I'd bought each at different times to decorate a coffee table, book shelf or even the dining table...they've been moved around as the mood or new home arrangement required yet never, until this morning, had I taken a good hard look at how crowded these very small 5" diameter shallow pots were.
Each pot had three different plants crammed together, and though there were some green leaves and shoots to observe, each plant was obviously losing the fight for dominance in it's particular pot as many of the leaves were broken, blackened, withered, frail or very dry and brown.
And that's when it happened.
That's when I walked through each room of the house and one by one carried all the indoor plants outside for some timely love and care.
I rummaged through the various pots we had in the shed and selected a few, gathered a good indoor soil mix, fertiliser, my gloves and the watering can, a few small garden tools and the large outdoors broom because I knew mess would be involved!
One by one I removed all the plants from the six pots and discovered more root systems than I thought would be possible. The tangle of different roots were carefully separated from the two 'triple plant' pots which now gave me six individual plants, so I trimmed away the unhealthy sections and re-potted all of them in the rich organic soil with unhindered space to grow before giving a thorough watering and leaving the six of them in shade out back until the sun moved over to touch them an hour or so later.
I also discovered that my other four (single) indoor plants had become quite root bound and could easily be divided into several new plants each, so again I re-potted everything, trimmed away unhealthy sections, fertilised, watered and left them under shade with the others.
My original rather poorly six pots of indoor had now become fourteen rather sprightly ones, and as I stood back and looked over the abundance before me the Lord showed me a lesson in life that was obviously needed.
Each day, each week, each year, contains a certain amount of time with which to accomplish the things we must do, want to do, and hope to do.
You truly cannot fit more than 24 hours in a day, just as you cannot add an extra day to your week or another month to your year - yet how many times have you heard someone say "If only I had an extra hour in my day."
Perhaps you were the one to lament not having more time?
When we cram more and more into our lives we run the risk of never finishing what we started, or at least not finishing it as well as we'd like. When our lives are filled to overflowing with home activities, groups, outings, the gym, lunch dates, coffee mornings, shopping, work, television, emails or social media we too often lose the quiet moments that allow us to fully appreciate all we have. We also become blind to how the overcrowding of our lives has affected our relationship with God and the people we care about, as well as our health - physical, spiritual, emotional and mental.
I never wish for more time, though I do often pray for less to do so I can enjoy the time already given me. But you know, I'd have less to do if I stopped long enough to examine my root system, trim away the excess, separate the overgrowth and fertilise with more of God'd Word and some gentle quite time.
Jesus said that unless we are branches connected to Him, our True Vine, we can do nothing.
So as I pondered all the distress and entanglement of my poor plant root systems today I had to ask "what state is my root system in?"
Am I a branch connected to the life giving vine who is Jesus or has the world tangled up my root system with too many expectations and a diseased belief of all I must accomplish in order to feel like I'm good enough?
Big question. Simple answer.
Now to be emptied, pruned, planted again in good soil, fertilised by grace, watered by the Word...and given space to breathe and grow.
How's your root system this year?