I Wonder … Whose Plants are These?

by Laci Lee Adams, HUUC DLFD

Emily and I will be married nine years on June 14, though we have been together nearly 15 years at this point. Almost every year at about this time (or a little earlier), she starts to buy plants and make drawings or diagrams of all of the pots and planters we have to figure out when plants will go into which pots. She is eager each year to make these plans and gather these living things. Most years, that eagerness is sustained until all of those plants are happily planted. She looks upon this work and is pleased. Then the demands of being a resident physician, or a fellow, or an attending increase during the summer, as does the heat and the need of the plants. And so, at some point in summer those plants, Emily’s plants, become “our plants!”  

I grew up gardening since my parents garden, as do so many Cajun people I know. In fact, my parents are growing more than 120 stalks of corn this year among the multitude of tomatoes and peppers and other vegetables in their gardens. I am no stranger to gardening, but as a “before Emily” adult, I had no interest in gardening. So, I wonder how it is each year that I become the steward to countless plants. How have these plants become our plants? I wonder every time I’m in the garden, especially when I am gardening alone, how did Emily’s love of these plants lead me to care for these plants? 

Maybe love is the bedrock of mutual care. Maybe loving Emily means watering her plants. Or, maybe when we come alongside someone in love, or in care, or in community, we don’t just tolerate their passions but we are changed in a way by them. Maybe there is a learning here about empathy and connection and investment. Maybe investing in the joy of others deepens our capacity for care, nurture and/or stewardship. Or, maybe these were always “our plants” and I just needed Emily to help me find them and start to nurture them. I don’t know the answer, but I know the question will be percolating in me as I water “our plants” this summer!

Image source: https://tinyurl.com/yks4u9ey