If you came to our parsonage, you would discover all over our property, plants and flowers. Just don’t ask me to identify what they are. I can tell a plant from a flower, but that’s as far as it goes with me.
That is not true with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. She gets all the credit for all the plants and flowers on our property. She knows them all by name. But, of course, I’m not sure if she’s making up those names because I couldn’t tell one plant from another plant.
Walking up to our house, you will see right next to the door a pineapple plant. I never knew exactly what it was, but my wife kept telling me it was a pineapple. Then this year, the pineapple actually developed. It took several years for it to get to this stage. It has grown quite a bit during this year. Looking at it, you would think you were in Hawaii.
When she first planted it she asked me, “Did you see my new plant out front?”
I did not, but I did not want to tell her that I did not. I try to keep things on the even as much as possible.
So I just said, “Yes, I saw it, and it looks wonderful.” I smiled a very gregarious smile at her.
I thought I was off the hook with that, but guess what? I was not off the hook, because then she said, “What kind of a plant is it?”
If I would’ve had all day and a thousand guesses, I could not have guessed what kind of plant it was. For me, one plant is the same as another. It makes no difference to me.
“For your information,” she said somewhat sarcastically, “it is a pineapple plant.”
I only thought they grew pineapples in Hawaii. Then, of course, there was the proposition that she was fooling with me. Why in the world would anybody want to grow a pineapple plant?
“Oh,” I said as humbly as I possibly could, “I didn’t recognize it because I’ve never seen a pineapple plant before.”
Then she said, “Why don’t you go out front and look at it?”
When you’re in as much trouble as I am, you do what you are invited to do. So, I went out, and she followed me to the front to look at the pineapple plant. It was a very profitable session. First, she gave me a very detailed lecture on the pineapple plant, planting it and watering it through the year. Then she told me how long it takes a pineapple to grow to the point of harvesting.
Then, the other night she brought in from the backyard an armful of yellow dandelions. So, it seems that she has planted dandelions, and they have grown and produced these beautiful yellow flowers.
As far as I’m concerned, a flower is a flower. But with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, every flower has its own story.
I had the story of the pineapple plant, and now I was privileged to hear the story of the dandelion flowers. Again, whether it’s true or not is above my pay scale.
I think she is the Martha Stewart of all things growing outside in our backyard.
Walking around our house outside, you would notice all kinds of plants and flowers of different colors. They all look healthy and are very beautiful.
I once walked around trying to identify the plants and the flowers, and I failed miserably. Someone in our home has a green thumb, and someone has a black and blue thumb. No need to explain any further.
The one secret to her plants and flowers is that she talks to them. I didn’t know plants and flowers could hear, but obviously, they do.
Last week it hadn’t rained for days, and I heard her out on the porch saying, “Don’t worry, it will rain very soon. Be ready for it and be patient.”
Not knowing what she was talking about or who she was talking to, I just responded by saying, “Thanks, I was wondering about when it would rain.”
Evidently, talking to the plants and flowers is very much appreciated by those plants and flowers. I’ve been tempted to go out and talk to them myself, but I was fearful that they would shrink in fear. Then guess who would be in trouble?
It’s pretty evident that I could not take care of plants and flowers as she does. Probably none of them would survive. Those plants and flowers ought to be quite thankful that I am not the one taking care of them. They ought to be thankful for the expert with a wonderful green thumb and not the one with the black and blue thumb.
Even though I can’t take care of them, I can appreciate them. Also, I can appreciate the one who does all the work to make them look as good as they do.
Sitting on the back porch drinking some coffee and looking at the flowers, I thought of the wonderful verse in the Bible. “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Relationships are not built upon having the same qualities. Rather, it is appreciating our differences that pull us together and enable us to do what God wants us to do.