My dear reader,
Greetings from sunny Circle City! Also known as Naptown/I-town/Indy. The Crossroads of America and Racing Capital of the World (if you’re into fast cars/big crowds/loud noise).
I’m writing to you from the region of the U.S. formerly known as the hot, humid Heartland. AKA the steamy/sticky/stifling Great Lakes states. Other aliases include:
The muggy, miserable Midwest;
The sweltering central region;
The sauna states.
Speaking of air, we’ve been running it 24/7 ’round here and don’t turn on the oven. Ever. (Fortunately, we have plenty of peanut butter and Lucky Charms. No one’s going hungry.)
But we are pretty sweaty. And flushed. And a little lightheaded.
Thankfully, we’ve had a four-day reprieve recently. It’s currently a balmy 77F. Never mind the air quality. (Currently a killer combo of pollen/humidity/manure stench.)
It doesn’t help that the heat index for the better part of July has fluctuated between St. Elmo’s Fire and Dante’s Inferno. I don’t know much about global warming and ozone layers and heatwaves, but I think I’ve got a fairly good idea of how it feels near the surface of the sun. Pretty sure we had a National Weather Service warning last week:
47% chance of spontaneous combustion.
My flowers (and my people) are wilting.
We’ve reached that point in the summer where my planters beg to be re-potted with asters or chrysanthemums or those crazy cabbage-looking plants (the unapologetic attention-grabbers in every autumnal arrangement.) Frankly, my Wave Petunias are no longer waving. Their limbs have gone limp. No more friendly “hello” on my front porch. Just a weary, withered sigh. Nearly all my flowers have shriveled and dropped… all but one. The lone sweltering summer survivor.
Most of its leaves are sad and droopy. They’ve lost all their lush-and-lovely. My poor petunias’ leaves are just barely… hanging… on.
Take a look.
Those pitiful leaves got me thinking, though…
Have you ever looked carefully at the veins of a single leaf? Ever examine those delicate, web-like patterns and consider all the scientific processes and natural wonders that transpire within? I’ll be honest. I remember very little from the botany unit in my biology class. But here’s what I do remember: something kind of crazy and cool happens when a plant or tree is supplied with all the right stuff: soil, sunlight, water. The roots soak up water and minerals from the soil and carry them up the base and through the branches and into the leaves. And inside those leaves, a pretty magical process called photosynthesis takes place. The plant/shrub/tree gets energy, fuel to live and grow and produce flowers or fruit. Oh, and it gives a little something back, too. Oxygen.
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. ~ Psalm 1:1-3
I think there’s a supernatural process that happens when we open God’s word and read it. When we receive it and genuinely believe it. When we ponder it and pray it. When we dig in, soak up, mull over. It energizes us. It becomes our life-fuel. It powers and propels us. And protects us too. When we’re nourished by it, we don’t wither or wilt or shrivel up or dry out. We live and grow and bloom and bear fruit. We prosper.
Lush and lovely.
And then another crazy cool thing happens. We start to really dig it. Delight in it. Crave it. Cherish it. We make discoveries and mine gems. We get comfort, gain strength, glean wisdom, find healing and help and hope. And then, invariably, we get distracted or discouraged or busy or (let’s be honest) bored. We get complacent or overconfident or a little too comfortable, and we stop digging in, soaking up, mulling over. We get undernourished. And we start to wilt.
Just like my petunias.
But here’s the good news: Withering leaves perk up pretty quickly when they get a good soaking.
So, drink up…perk up… and prosper. In every season and all kinds of weather. Always.
Forever a flower child,
P.S. To all my fellow flower-children feeling wilted or withered by heated circumstances or a season of drought, keep trusting the Master Gardener. He’ll take good care of you. Promise.
But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. ~ Jeremiah 17:7-8