Image courtesy of Vlado/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am fortunate enough today to have a friend visiting this morning to share coffee and conversation. One of her comments caught my attention. She was looking at my “Mother-in-law’s Tongue” plant, and she commented, “You’ve got babies—- your plant is doing really well.”

I was shocked. I never remember to water plants. Only two of five plants are currently surviving in this house; one is oregano and the other is this plant. I haven’t watered it in at least two months. My friend told me the one she has is not doing well because she waters it too often.

I know there is a message in this somewhere I need to pay attention to for some reason. Is it that procrastination can sometimes be healthy? Much as I’d like to think that, I am not comfortable doing so.  I think the message I am supposed to get is probably more like “some things are better left alone giving them their own time and space to grow.”  Sometimes giving too much support and nurturance can suffocate people or at the very least impede their growth. I need to learn to know when to back off so that I won’t make things worse for my friends by not giving them the space they need to learn to face their own challenges independently. I have other friends that are like the plants that have died in my house…..they need more support, nurturance, and direction than I am comfortable giving unless I am acting in a professional capacity providing care to a patient—–which is never appropriate outside the boundaries of that role.

Then there are the lessons about learning what I need from others. When do I need help and support? When do I need others to step back so I can learn to conquer my own challenges with God’s help? Examples that quickly come to mind are the two gentlemen who came and shoveled snow and ice off my driveway. That was help I definitely needed; I also needed help from my friend who picked up and brought my prescription refill to me. Beyond that, I needed to learn to overcome my own challenges. I slipped on ice a couple of times walking to and from my care  in my travels out and about after that, but one friend reminded me I could buy “Stablilicers” (advertised as “studded snow tires for your feet”) so I can be more independent with less threat of falling.

My slip-on cleats were delivered to my door yesterday. I just opened them up and tried them on my shoes; they fit perfectly. This detail reminds me that there is a magic “perfect” point  between being too dependent and healthily independent. The same goes for how I relate to my friends; there is a perfect “independence/dependence” fit that is different for each individual. I need to remember to  ask God for knowledge of his/her/Creator’s will and the power to carry it out——-not only in how I water my plants but in how I relate to others in the dance of friendship. May God bless and keep you.