Many years ago, a few months or so after Christmas, I dug a hole in the garden and plopped my grocery store poinsettia into it. Without much (any?) effort at all, that plant grew into a huge shrub that enchanted us year after year with its miraculously timed, festive red leaves.
And then it up and died.
I replaced it with another poinsettia which looked like a promising specimen, although from the start this one was obviously much less robust than the first. I responded with two years of extra attention, fertilizer and care..clearly to no avail.
While it may not be 100% dead, this thing is now on life-support with little hope of recovery, and certainly not in time for Christmas. So I made the difficult decision yesterday to pull the plug…er, the roots. I hate giving up, but it’s obviously (high) time to move on to plan B.
Reminds me of the year we’ve all had. Trying to hold on to plans and events and traditions for as long as we possibly could only to finally admit we needed to shift to a plan B. It also made me think of the first Christmas story, I mean how would you have felt having your man walk in the door and announce Hey honey, I know you’re all nesty and snuggly and just about ready to have this baby, but…
WE’RE GOING ON A ROAD TRIP!!!
Ugh..can you even imagine?
And that’s about how 2020 has unfolded, like a super-long, completely unplanned, road trip full of flat tires, engine fires, kids fighting in the back seat, detours and no firm sense of where we are headed or how long it’s going to take to get there.
Could the silver lining in all of this is be that we will ultimately become more flexible and less rigid? Many of us may actually be enjoying our plan Bs, Cs and Ds. Some of us may feel liberated to have finally pursued alternatives we never felt we could before. Maybe we never realized prior to 2020 that Plan A wasn’t that great anyway..that it had some problems, kinda like my poinsettia.
No doubt there will be a part of me that feels bad yanking out my failed plant fro the earth, but there will also be relief in finally letting go of what is no longer viable and moving on to new growth and new possibilities.
I will also take a moment to reflect upon whether it’s wise to have something so fragile as the centerpiece of my little garden. Just as it was for me before I made God the centerpiece of my life, I was super vulnerable to discouragement and disappointment. People, money, success, possessions.. all of those things could and did let me down. Christmas is a reminder that God is the only true, everlasting one worthy of that central position in our garden of life..nothing else comes close.
With four days left in this Christmas week, think about all the ways you have re-imagined not just this holiday, but this entire past year. Give yourself credit for being flexible and resourceful and for pruning the areas of your life that had possibly become hardened or unhealthy. Maybe it’s also time to rethink what is most important in your “garden..” what is your centerpiece?