Several years ago, the spectacular 4-1/2′ high by 8-1/2′ wide hostas on either side of the walk between our house and the public sidewalk weren’t there: the lawn was uninterrupted on our entire corner. The hostas lived next door, on the shady east side of the beautiful little front porch of our neighbors. My dear friend there had planted a lush garden beside that sheltered nook her family often enjoyed. But the hostas got too happy there, and grew, and grew, and GREW. They crowded each other and everything else planted in that flower bed. The holly bush appeared to be appealing for help! She decided they had to go, and asked me if I wanted them. I didn’t even have to think about it. YES! I love large, exuberant plants!
I had no idea where the hostas would go, so we planted them beside our carriage house/barn, and they survived the hours of sunshine they received there every day, but they didn’t thrive. Leaves crinkled and turned brown before summer was half over. So finally, I decided that the beautiful, shady sidewalk intersection under the century-old maple trees out front would become a pair of corner shade gardens. My husband dug up the plants and dug the new holes and helped me move the hostas; and I added hydrangeas, columbines, colorful little shrubs, ajuga for ground cover, and other smaller varieties of hostas. I loved it, and everything there thrived.
Then, on July 13, 2015, the unprecedented windstorm that decimated our city and its trees felled the maple tree that had sheltered the hostas and the plants that shared their corners. I have watched for five weeks as the giant hostas have begun to crinkle and turn brown. I water them–oh, okay, I have probably have even talked to them on occasion, but they don’t have it in them to tolerate as much direct sun as they get now, without the shelter and shade of that beautiful old maple tree, conversation or not.
So I’ve begun a large shade garden under the dogwood tree that stands between our house and our neighbor’s. I plan to divide and move, or transplant, the hostas into the shade that in the best place for them to live. If I don’t intercede, I don’t think they will survive a full summer of direct sun.
Remember when Jesus challenged us to appreciate how lilies are clothed, and how birds are fed, and apply that to our own contexts? I think we’re a lot like my giant hostas, too. Like them, we do best in the optimum surroundings, don’t we? We might enjoy crowding in the context of peaceful collaboration, and just spread out and enhance or overcome everything else in the environment. We might be isolated and have too much focus on us to be comfortable in another place, but do our best anyway. Then we might be relieved to subsequently find ourselves occupying a spot in which we can participate with others in a non-threatening context, and thrive.
We might accept being moved to a different location, and enjoy being the biggest “thing” in the space; then the context of that location changes, and we struggle along, trying to make the best of it, looking and feeling less than enthusiastic, while the less conspicuous ones around us adjust and do well. We might put up with a little more direct (spot/sun)light than our comfort zones will accommodate for as long as we possibly can, because we’re used to where we are, and see no way to change; but eventually, we have to accept that if we get moved yet again, it will be out of our control, but for our own good. We can thrive again.
I hope I can trust like the lilies for how I will be clothed, and like the birds for how I will be fed, and like the hostas for context in which I will thrive. How about you? How difficult is it for you to happily “find a new place to bloom”?