Last spring, I planted quite a few things in my yard, attempting to make the lawn look nice. While it was not my first attempt at having plants, I did make a considerable effort this time, more than any other. Along one side of my place, I uprooted the existing plants that looked terrible. In their place, I added two bright green plants and one red leaf plant. Along the front, the flowerbed had two bushes, each at opposite sides of a flower bed. In the middle was an empty space where I planted a hibiscus plant. Around two trees, I planted small flowers.
In the beginning, I took time every day to water the plants. I soon found the scorching sun was too much for the small flowers. The poor things looked like wet noodles trying to stand on their own strength. Within two or three weeks they were all dead, so I took them out and put decorative stone in their place. Meanwhile, the other plants seemed to be doing fine along the other side of the house. As time passed, the heat got worse and before long, I was no longer able to work outside.
During the routine watering process, I did not pay much attention to the bushes surrounding the hibiscus plant. Too much time had passed without me observing the condition of these plants under my care. One day, shortly after returning home, I got close to one bush. I was shocked to see it was completely covered in vines. On the outside, the bush gave the impression it was ok because it kept its original shape. What fooled me was that the vines closely matched the color of the bush.
For months, I nurtured these plants. When it started raining more, I didn’t have to water them as often. However, I didn’t take time to find out what was going on beneath the surface and assumed everything was fine. I found out my bushes had an enemy that was trying to devour them. Unfortunately, by the time I caught it, it was too late. I gently pulled away the vines from the first bush. The vines took vital resources away from the bush, making the vines stronger and the bush weaker. Large pieces of the bush broke off easily, as it was at the all-but-dead stage. A small, pitiful branch was left upright but severely weakened. Not the award-winning imagery I had in mind to get neighbor of the year. I removed the remaining piece and, in its place, decided to plant another hibiscus, next to the first one. The bush on the opposite side suffered too, but not nearly to the same extent and was able to be revived.
What I gathered from this experience was to keep careful watch over what is important to me. From outward appearances, all may seem well. But on the inside, suffering was going on that I was completely unaware of. Upon closer investigation, I discovered vines that were choking the life out of my beloved plants. With swift action, I was able to uproot them and prevent further damage. Sadly, there was a part that could not be undone. However, rather than leave a place of emptiness, I found an opportunity – a place to grow new life, just in a different form.
What is under your care in life? More importantly, who? Be diligent. Don’t settle easily for excuses. Take time to find out what is going on beneath the surface.