So this little orchid that a fantastic guy gave me may have a short lived life in my house, by no means will it be intentional plant slaughter, it's just something bound to happen. Yet during it's (possibly short) life here, it has already taught me quite a bit.
For starters, let's just take a moment to appreciate how little gardening work an orchid needs. You feed it by ice cubes (the water, not the rapper) and sit in a a partly sunny place. Check. So this can't be too much - although I'm sure I'll forget it's water supply and pass by it one day as it is breathing its last. But, on the optimistic side, it's little purple flowers are nice and bright and death has not cast it's shadow over the door of this little plant.
Here is the phenomenal, mind blowing part. Look at this little plant. Just look at it. See how straight it is standing, reaching up for the sun? (It's normally in my room, but it came outside today for a photo shoot). How neat is that? It knows that it grows best standing up, and so it stands. Check this out, it gets cooler:
Not so straight, right? Despite all the ice cubes I have fed it and sunshine it has eaten up, this little orchid still likes to slump to the right.
Let's use the orchid as an analogy for our faith. (if you think it's a stretch, bear with me for a second). I grew up in a super Catholic house. I'm the oldest of eight, I was homeschooled K-12, I knew about Theology of the Body since eight grade confirmation, and I've been schooled in apologetics at the lunch table since my freshman year of high school. I graduated high school two years ago, went to a non-Catholic college, but got involved in my Catholic Campus Center and have made my best friends there. I've grown in my faith through defending it through classes and interactions with other students, Catholic and non-Catholic. All in all, if my life is that little orchid, I've gotten a really good amount of ice cubes and my sunshine tank is pretty full.
But I still slump to the right quite a bit. I don't have it all together (despite appearances) and sometimes my stress levels hit the roof. I have a horrible temper (it's beast) and can be insanely judgmental. Pride is something I consistently have to confess, and I always have fuel for spiritual direction. I do not know anything but a teeny-tiny percentage of my faith life, and praise God for friends who are knowledgeable in the faith. Now, take a look at this little baby alligator clip:
That is the only thing that is keeping the orchid from slumping to the right and growing horizontally instead of vertically. It's not incredibly strong on it's own merit, but it's grip on the orchid keeps the orchid growing tall and sticking up for itself.
So despite all the good things that I can surround myself with, I still need a little baby alligator clip to keep me straight. What is my little baby alligator clip? God's grace. Something I don't have to deserve to receive, something that God is constantly just pouring down on me through the sacraments and grace and the time that I spend just looking at His amazing love in adoration. Something that I see in the faces of those I interact with, and the love of the friends who reach out and sit me down when they know something is wrong.
An orchid growing horizontal is pretty cool - not something you see everyday. But an orchid that knows its mission and purpose and loves reaching up to the God who made it? Now that my friends is a sight to see. So, seriously, if you want to come see it, you better stop by quick. Because it may be reaching for the ground in a couple of days. But until that day comes, I'm really enjoying the blessing of a good reminder of how it's ok to not have it all together, and the importance of a little baby alligator clip.