Pam and I bought our first home in Redlands, California while I was in medical school. We were excited to be the first owners of this newly constructed home. That is until we discovered the amount of work it took to landscape around the house located on a corner lot. Let’s put aside the obvious issues of money, time, and creativity for the purposes of this blog and focus on the project itself for an important life lesson I learned that summer of 1979.
We began by installing the irrigation system. Pam helped me dig the trenches, lay the PVC pipe and connect the valves. It was much easier than I anticipated which gave me an inflated view of my landscaping expertise. I then installed the edging to define the areas of the future planting beds which again went without a hitch. Now I’m really certain of my landscaping skills and knowledge. Now it was time to purchase the shrubs, trees, perennials, and groundcover. Once home with these precious living things, I checked the instructions supplied by the nursery for planting each item. This is when I realized the process was slightly more involved than taking the shrub out of its pot and putting it in a hole in the dirt. I needed to buy additional supplies to place around the roots, carefully maintaining the integrity of each plant’s root system.
Due to my tight schedule and need to get the plants in the ground as quickly as possible, I decided to skip the instructions and get the plants in the dirt. Once completed, the yard looked beautiful. The trees and shrubs were green, the perennials were colorful, and the groundcover was lush. The beauty lasted for about 2 weeks. This is when I began noticing the groundcover was thinning out and the leaves on the trees were wilting despite plenty of irrigation. And then the perennials lost their color and the shrubs began to die. Not every plant was dying, but a significant number were in deep trouble. I consulted a local horticulturist who told me the problem was the roots. I had not taken the proper care to make sure the roots were transplanted without damage. And then I had not given the roots the necessary nourishment to overcome the trauma of the transfer from pot to hole in the ground. I purchased replacement plants and carefully followed the instructions with much better success.
Our connections with one another are as fragile as the roots of plants. And our connections depend on the roots we develop throughout life. This is where the Bible becomes a treasure not to be ignored if we want to have meaningful and abundant growth in our personal lives resulting in healthy relationships with others. I have found the Bible to be a reliable source of guiding principles of relationships. These principles form the roots in our lives which will blossom into loving connections with one another. No wonder Paul gives this advice in Colossians 2:6-7, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” I have learned the hard way to follow instructions when dealing with roots. I encourage you to care for your roots and nourish them in the One who gave His life so we could have life abundant.