19 May 2006

Watering the Leaves

When I was about 8 years old, my Dad gave me the task of watering the outdoor shrubs around the patio of our California home. Budding green thumb that I was, I threw myself into the task with determination. Spraying the garden hose at the green, leafy tops, I congratulated myself at the shrubs' glorious sparkle and dewey complexion. My, how the leaves shone in the sunlight! Never had these plants had the care and attention I was giving them this day! Whoever the slob was that had tended them previously (my mother, probably) couldn't hold a garden hoe compared to me!
As I blithely and purposely drenched each and every leaf, good ol' Dad stuck his head out the back door. "Honey, you need to point the hose at the GROUND. Plants drink water through their roots, not through their leaves."


My fantasy career as a horticulturalist came to an abrupt end.

I smiled this week as I watered the roots of my own bushes around our patio in Maryland.
That memory makes me laugh. I appreciate my exuberance and ignorance as an 8 year old. No one ever informed me about roots before that day. I appreciate that my Dad cared enough to correct me.

It also brings to mind the ignorant yet exuberant way I often approach life, even today.

Imagine I am both the shrub and the careful 8 year old. In need of insight and wisdom, in need of answers to some particular issue with my children or my husband, I dutifully begin to water my leaves. Purposefully, I check out library books on the topic. I post questions on Internet bulletin boards and chat rooms. I poll my family and friends, "What do you think I should do about... ?" I journal, make pro/con lists, read a testimonial from someone who was in the almost-but-not-quite same situation. I *wink* blog about it. I am a diligent and energetic gardener. But I am an ignorant gardener. I water the leaves.

I'm never going to grow with a mere misting on my tendrils. My life needs its roots watered. In the desperate times of drought- when there are no obvious answers, when that one particular kid of mine (they rotate) has got me at my wits' end, when hubby and I are at an impasse- I don't need spritzing. I need a good, long gush of agua aimed right at the foundation of my life.
Why is it that the last place and Person I usually go for the help is the one that is guaranteed to water my roots?

"He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought " Jer. 17:8

You would think that my first response would be cracking open the Word of God when I'm met with a challenge in life. You'd think that I might race to put my roots in the stream of Living Water.

Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." John 7:37-38

Sometimes, though, I still catch myself standing there diligently sprinkling water on my leaves.


Blogger relevantgirl said...

This is beautiful! You should consider publishing it...

2:23 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

You have the depth of the blue ocean and the wisdom of the high mountain.

Now I know why my plant always fail to grow...the leave...they are useless for watering.

-- Love, Steve.

8:51 PM  
Blogger gramarty said...

The Miracle-Gro people are really messing with great parables when they claim that by sprinkling their product on plant leaves they actually do receive nourishment. I guess it's like the difference between soaking in an oatmeal bath and eating oatmeal for breakfast every day. The bath feels good and relieves external itching but that ingested half cup of flakes boiled in water helps to rid your body of nasty cholesterol and nourish your cells at the same time. I don't know how it works but I just had a great test result from the doc!

You said this so well. And you know what I think is SO NEAT (besides the obvious truth of it)...it's that your husband reads your thoughts and comments on them...publicly! He obviously cherishes you completely.

10:46 AM  

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