The Right Environment

I love the sight of a fully bloomed orchid. It’s luscious, thick, green leaves and it’s colorful blooms are awe inspiring. Usually it’s when I am at the florist or grocery store where I might find one in gorgeous bloom. Once purchased and placed in my home, however, this visual wanes over time. I’m typically left with an empty arm of a plant with no blooms and few, healthy leaves. The number of orchids I’ve doomed to a withered existence saddens me. Yet, recently, I think I figured something out about them and incidentally, myself.

When I first purchased this tropical plant, I inquired of its maintenance. “Only place two ice cubes per week at its base and forget it. Actually, ignore it. Then, it will thrive,” I was instructed. Once in Hawaii, I saw many natural orchids on the stalks of trees high on a mountain. Obviously, the heat and humidity made them thrive. But curiously, they weren’t planted in soil, they were just literally hanging out around the tree. Why did they thrive naturally there and shrivel in my care?

The environment of these beauties plays a critical role in their survival. Just for fun, I took four destitute, orchid remnants and placed them in my laundry room window. I did this to get them out of the way more than salvage them. I watered them for a few weeks (yep, I cheated and bypassed cubes for straight water). And here I must interject that I have NEVER had one of the numerous orchids I have owned rebloom. Once, as a personal challenge, my husband called his landscape architect friend for instructions how to get one to rebloom. He told him to repot them in new pots with bark only and give the requisite watering. And it worked! The tiny bloom was far from succulent but it came back. I’ve never claimed a green thumb but nevertheless, kept my old orchids just in case.

After a few weeks, my laundry room leftover plants sprouted bizarre shaped appendages rising out of the bases. Then one day, tiny nodules formed on a lone branch. My orchid was attempting to bloom again! Three survived and thrived and I now have two reblooming. I did not do research yet still am finding their resurgence daily.

I realized this orchid experiment mirrors my faith walk. I can keep bad habits or can be obedient and disciplined allowing myself to thrive. My faith will expand or wither and it’s up to me. The fruits (or flowers in this case) will come or not. I just have to put myself in the right environment.

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