Recently, I confided to a friend my struggle with a basil plant. It had been trimmed and used for a number of months, and was pretty bare of leaves, and those it had were small. I had purchased a new, full basil plant because the existing one wasn’t able to contribute much to my kitchen, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw the old one in the trash. Early one morning, I took the plant outside and dumped the pot at the base of one of the trees along my street at the entrance to the building where I live. I made sure it was right side up and figured it would get rain and sun and have a chance to survive there.
For several weeks I watched it as I went in and out of my building. It began to perk up and put out new leaves. One day I noticed that someone had transplanted it to a planter outside the door of my building. It had been seen and loved and cared for. Now it is green and healthy, and I am glad that I placed it where I did and that someone else realized its potential and gave it a chance to thrive.
Psalm 40 reminds me of this plant:
I waited patiently upon the Lord;
he stooped to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay;
he set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.
Many shall see, and stand in awe, and put their trust in the Lord.
Our lives at times are similar to that basil plant. Sometimes we find ourselves in places where life is hard, where the gifts we have to offer are not wanted or valued. Like the Psalmist, we may be in the desolate pit. I know I’ve been there, in that place of wilderness, of mire and clay, questioning my life, my worth, my gifts. God came and lifted me, in the form of community, friends who reminded me that I matter. Transplanted into a different environment, an environment of love and nurture, we can thrive. May we be those who help life to thrive, and when others are in places where they feel withered and worn, may we see and love and care for them.