Give Them Sustenance

Spiritual Sustenance

The plants in my garden are still undistinguishable in the uniformity of their green. They will become individually striking when they begin to blossom. Then each will appear in the distinctive glory of its own beauty, yielding the harvest of color and fragrance, which is its mission to the world.

I have often reflected on this transformation in my plants, which takes place within a brief span of days. It takes of course more than just days. It also takes the proper cultivation—scattering plant food, weeding, watering, and the energies latent in earth, and sun, and the caressing breezes that blow—to enable my plants to grow to the fullness of their promise.

I have reflected on this process because it offers so keen an insight into the human condition as well. Individuals go through a like transformation. Peoples and nations also often present themselves to us as undistinguished. No richness of creation or culture is to be seen in their lives. And we sometimes say, “They are uncreative.” But may it not be that we see them before their full span of development has revealed the beauty still sleeping in their souls?

People are like plants in requiring proper cultivation to bring into being the promise inherent in their lives. They need food and shelter, and the warmth of affection; their minds need educating and stimulating by the challenge of other minds in action. Without proper sustenance, plants die green, and so do people.

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