Today, the African violet leaves that I planted back in June of 2012 are bearing beautiful blooms! Not just ones and twos, but many of the plantlets have grown and are putting forth colorful flowers. The splashes of magenta, purple, blue, white, and even green are, indeed, glorious. But one of the things that truly fascinates me is that each plant seems to have particular needs that, when met, help it to grow and bloom to its fullest potential. You would think that, given these are all of the same family, and many are the exact, same plant, they wouldn’t be so individual. But, indeed, they are.
Which brings me to wonder: When pain and illness are constantly present, what do we need to bloom as fully as we can? In other words, given we are who we are, and we have whatever health afflictions we have, what can we do or obtain that will make us shine despite our challenges?
My African violets need light. But some more than others. All need water. But some use it up faster than others. They all need a nice pot to grow in, and soil and fertilizer. But the placement of these varies, depending on the position of the heating vent and window.
In our individual lives, we might need more or less quiet time; enough time to pray and reflect, but not so much that we become isolated completely from important people in our lives and the world beyond. Food for the mind and spirit is important, too, but what kind will vary for each of us; it can range from frequent retreats to moving music to engaging in writing, painting, drawing, or sculpting.
“Different” can sometimes carry a negative connotation. But we hear in Scripture about the different gifts of the Spirit and how not every person will have all of them – and how we need to appreciate and respect these gifts in ourselves and each other. So, understanding what it takes for each of us to bloom and continue to grow is intrinsic to being able to use our gifts as fully and wonderfully as we can.
We might think we need many things to make us comfortable and as productive as we can be, however perhaps it is not so much things we need as it is the ability to take what we have and figure out how to shape it so that we can bloom now and in months and years to come.
Blessings for the day!