The Potted Ponytail Palm
Judy Luffman of Redmond, OR, USA
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30
Several years ago one of our sons gave me a potted ponytail palm for Mother’s Day. I nurtured it indoors during the cold winter and faithfully watched over it outdoors during the hot summers. When we moved cross country, the palm rode along in the car, surviving the jostling of the move and the adjustment to a new climate.
When we needed to be away from our new home for more than a week, I asked a neighbor if I could bring the plant to her house to keep it watered, which she was happy to do. After trading watering duties back and forth between our homes when either of us traveled, I decided to see what would happen if I didn’t bother her. I filled a large bucket of water, put it in a location where the sun would shine part of the day, and placed the potted palm in it before leaving on a two-and-a-half-week trip.
Upon return, the palm appeared to have done well, but a few months later the lowest layer of leaves turned yellow, then turned brown and brittle, and later died. Then another layer followed suit. Unfortunately, my experiment at keeping the palm sufficiently hydrated and nourished didn’t work well.
The experiment became an interesting lesson of the importance of creating opportunities to consistently drink from the cup of living water which nourishes my soul and empowers me for discipleship. When I choose to remove myself from that life-giving source, I feel I am losing parts of myself, like what happened to my ponytail palm.
Spiritual formation is one important conduit of living water. We need to be intentional and disciplined in incorporating formational practices in our lives to keep the waters flowing.
“…all things in God and God in all things” (Mechthild of Magdeburg).
Reflecting on Presence
Breathe deeply and become present to the Presence with you here and now. Take a few moments in the silence to reflect prayerfully on the following questions:
Where have you been aware of God’s presence in your life?
What is God’s invitation to you in this story?
How do you desire to be more open to God’s presence and invitation tomorrow?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.