We found the ancestor of this plant at a boat landing on the bay. Someone had left it at a deserted camping area, so we took it home.
As it got moved around, it went through some difficult periods of not enough water, too much sun, too small of a pot. Finally, though, it came into its own when I transplanted it into a large pot and placed it on the porch.
It was happy. It grew. And it grew. And it multiplied.
At first, I protected the plant by covering it in cold weather. I moved it to different choice spots to receive the best light. I was enamored with the beautiful bloom it produced several times a year. The larger it got, though, the harder it was for me to manage.
I split the plant into multiple pots, which wasn’t easy due to its spiny arms.
The plant continued to grow…and multiply.
I dug up the babies and furnished my entire extended family with plants. I advertised, offering plants free of charge to any taker, giving until no one would take any more plants.
Still, I had two large pots of the plant, and it was continuing to reproduce! (Avid gardeners may find this next bit of the story painful, but please realize that I couldn’t keep the plant contained. I didn’t have enough pots or space to keep up with its growth. In addition, working with it required long sleeves and gloves, and I still ended up with scratches and wounds from the prickly points.)
One day, I had enough. I huffed and pulled and hauled the pots out to the trash pile, and I dumped the plants out. There, I thought,I am done with you! Satisfied, I took my pots and went back to the house.
Several days later, I walked by the trash pile. Even though there had been no rain, there were my plants, green and apparently happy. I grimaced and walked away.
Several weeks later, a friend came by. I asked if she wanted an aloe plant. When she said ‘yes’, I walked out to the trash pile, picked up one plant by an arm, and handed it to her. “Just stick it in a pot,” I said. She did, and it lived.
That was several months ago. I walked out to the trash pile again last week, and there growing green and happy, was a large aloe plant.
Evidently, the plant has a lesson to teach me. I’m convinced that this plant is the picture of resilience.
Resilience – the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness; the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity; grit. Psychology Today defines resiliency as the “ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever”.
I have seen resiliency modeled by this simple aloe plant that has continued to grow through drought, and displacement, and dislike, and abandonment. The trash pile does not provide optimal growing conditions, but it has adjusted, and it continues to flourish.
I have decided that I want to be like this aloe plant.
I can’t control all that life will bring, but I can adjust to the changing situations. I want to continue to flourish and grow no matter what comes. I want to send my roots deep into the soil of faith and hope, so that I can weather the storms that threaten. I want to spring back into shape when the wheels of life flatten me.
Resilience is more than a determination to be okay. It is rooted in the knowledge that God is faithful, and He gives the strength to not just face but to experience victory in the trials of each day.
So, my prayer today is, “God, grant me the ability to follow the example of the aloe.” May this be your prayer as well.
II Corinthians 4:8-10 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
Philippians 4: 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.