Two years ago, we tore out our 15-year-old landscaping and replaced it with some plants that I really loved. One of my favorites is this little Gold Lace Juniper.
We have two of these plants side by side in our front yard and in July I noticed that one looked great and one looked like it was dying. When the “plant lady” came for a landscaping walk through, I learned a lesson about my little plant that applies to humans as well.
She said that the winter had been pretty rough on plants. There wasn’t enough snow cover to really protect them from the harsh elements. So, this lovely plant had been wounded due to lack of protection, and the sad news is that it could take up to five years for it to heal and look healthy again.
I hoped she would tell me of some product I could put on it or some other action I could take to accelerate the healing. The answer is NOTHING but time would help!
So, what human lesson can we learn from this sad landscaping story? I offer 3 ways that the plant story has a personal message for us.
- Protection is important. What do we do to protect ourselves from being destroyed or deeply hurt? Life inherently is going to hand us some challenges and trials that feel as if they destroy a part of us. We can’t protect ourselves from everything, but we can at least give some attention to the situations we put ourselves in that could cause personal damage.
- Not everyone is affected the same way. These two plants grew up side by side and shared the exact same weather conditions as well as the same lack of protection; yet, one of them continued to grow and one was deeply damaged. Humans are the same! Two people can be in the same situation and be affected very differently. We should never assume that our experience in a situation is the same as anyone else’s.
- On the occasion that life (and by life, this includes another human being) hands us a hard blow, we may not be able to bounce right back. The actual healing may take quite some time. As someone who has inflicted emotional damage to another person, I know that I have tried apologizing, sending flowers, bringing chocolate, writing notes, and several other methods to accelerate the healing. Guess what? Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the only thing that can truly heal is to let time pass so that the other person can find their own way to grow through the challenge.
I’m not sure what you might want to take from this story, but at the very least, I hope you pause long enough to consider the idea that we can’t protect ourselves or those we love from all types of damaging elements. And, when someone is hurting, they might need to heal in their own way. Also, just because it will take time doesn’t mean that you stop caring and letting them know that if there was anything you could do to help – you would!