The Day My Prayer Plant Died
By Elece Hollis
October and November were months filled with trauma and stress. Margaret, a widow woman our family has taken on the care of over the past fifteen years, became much sicker. There were trips to the local hospital, transfers to Tulsa hospitals, visits almost daily, and then a trip back to the nursing home, a move out of her apartment, a setup with hospice care, more visits, more moving and tending and attending to business. Then Margaret died and the funeral arrangements, burial arrangements, and financial arrangements all wore on us. So much to tend to and all the while I had to drum up enough time and enough emotional strength to tend my family, my students, my grandchildren, and my work commitments.
You probably know how I love flowers and grow plants—orchids, cyclamens and African Violets are my favorites. This summer I had started a prayer plant. A pretty houseplant, Maranta or prayer plant, is so called because in the evening the leaves begin to fold up and completely close in the dark. In the morning light they will spread their leaves again.
After the funeral I began to try to catch up. I cleaned house, washed tons of laundry, filled my birdfeeders, finished a writing assignment, and worked on my houseplants. The prayer plant had been set out of the way behind a Philodendron. It hadn't been getting any attention, no sun or water. Most of the once red-backed leaves were crumpled and brown. All were bent and curled from their edges like sheets of paper in the hands of a nervous child.
If my prayers were so neglected as this plant had been I would not fare so well. I would never make it when times got tough. But the times when I am most distressed are the times when God calls me close and I can hear his voice and speak out my fears, trials, and hurts to Him. He listens. His voice comforts me. He reminds me that I am His child and He cares for me. He holds my hand and guides me through.
It is during the good times and the unremarkable days that my prayer life is at risk. Then I may go all day without sharing my thoughts and my heart with the Lord Jesus or listening to his guiding voice. So sad. If I only spoke to my husband when I was in trouble or only spoke with my relatives or friends when I needed help how would those relationships fare? Not so well, I think.
So I want to learn what the prayer plant showed me. Pray in the sunshine. Grow new leaves. Produce a flower or many blooms. Pray and build the roots that will hold me close, close, close, in times of despair and tribulation. I snipped the dead leaves from my Maranta and gave it some water and sunshine. Hey! Two leaves are raising their faces again and folding their hearts to pray again. All is not lost! Thanks, Jesus. Yes, I hear ya.