Saturday, June 5, 2010

Geranium People

In the fall of each year as the cold nights begin to set in, I move the plants off my deck into the area where they winter over. In my basement, I have sliding glass doors that we rarely use. The morning sun shines in and plants thrive in the generous sunlight. I cover the carpet in front of the door with a waterproof mat and arrange about a dozen plants for their winter stay. As the months go by, the plants grow unchecked. For various reasons, a few don’t make it. This year, I had a couple of geraniums that were just about dead. They were my biggest ones from the summer before and I had had them for several years. Because they had been so big, I had a hard time moving them in and out as the nights grew colder. These two had been left out one night too many and the poor things had frozen almost down to the dirt. By the time they had been moved in for the winter, all their leaves were dead and it didn’t take them long to dry up and get crunchy. Even so, I kept on watering them, trusting that those roots under the soil were still alive. Eventually, a few leaves began to peek out from beneath the dried out dead leftovers.

Every year come spring, it takes me a while to untangle all those wild, overgrown plants, prune them, and clean out the dead leaves. As I plant my garden and move things out onto my deck, I have several plants that need extra care. These pathetic plants are usually down to their last legs – a few scraggly leaves and bare branches. For some reason, they have done quite poorly over the winter or perhaps they have suffered some sort of trauma. Those two geraniums were my prime examples of pathetic plants this year. I pulled off all the dead leaves and cut away the dried out stems being careful to preserve what was still alive. By the time I was done with them, they were practically bare.

I suppose most folks would simply throw away such miserable plants but I view them as a challenge. It’s possible that they could one day return to their former glory. I know that they have healthy and large root systems. Why not give them a chance and see what happens? So I moved them into the intensive care unit on my deck. In the ICU, plants get plenty of sunlight, fertilizer, water, and pruning as necessary. Although those geraniums are pretty sorry looking right now, I remember what they used to look like and how they used to bloom year round. As the summer progresses, I hope to see them revive and thrive.

We have all known people in our lives that were like those geraniums. Perhaps they have suffered trauma or neglect and their spirits are dying. Maybe they have seemed lifeless for a long time. There is life somewhere - they are still walking around - but there are no flowers. Maybe they are just tired. There are many reasons for folks to be like my geraniums, and like those geraniums, they need some extra care. Maybe they even need to be in spiritual intensive care. Maybe there is something I can do to help. I take care of those plants, how about taking a bit of care for those who need a little extra? I can imagine what is needed: some sunlight, cool water, a listening heart, a few hugs, lunch, a glass of wine and some laughter, a friend. Those are things I can do. My geranium friends may never recover to their former glory, but it’s possible that they could revive and thrive.

We can’t make each others’ lives and make someone else blossom, but we can help. If I can do it for my plants, the least I can do is to do it for my neighbor. With God’s help, let me be one who nurtures the geranium people in my life.


  1. I really like your articles. I hav ed been looking for something like this. very inspirational and well put. Thanks.

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