Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Poinsettias, Debt, and Optimism

As I spent the entirety of the previous day budgeting out the next 25 years of my life (it's sad, guys. it's really sad), I also realized how much of my next three years will be spent doing fun things (very little). In order to avoid tail-spinning into a cavern of gloom and pessimism, I wanted to take some time before work today to review one of life's treasures. 


Let me share with you the tears, the dedication, and the triumphs.

FLASHBACK: Now, when I was stuck in purgatory (the BYU greenhouse) for two months in between wrist surgeries back in 2010, they had me do as much as I could with one arm in a cast and a sling. I was super depressed, wasn't allowed to drive, and was on a constant stream of nauseating pain meds. I had to one-handedly polish the tropical plants prior to devotional or pick up small items around the greenhouse. For 6 hours a day. Every day. Then, they put me in charge of watering the little poinsettias. This was my favorite job. I kept those damn things alive through painstakingly careful watering. At the end of the semester, as I was leaving for my final surgery, they let me take a little guy home with me to keep. Forever. I transferred all of my rage, sadness, and disappointment over what grounds and that pallet of sod had done to me into hope in that tiny plant. Surgery completed and cast removed, I met up with my brother and sister to begin our long drive back home. I had buckled my little poinsettia carefully in the back seat of the car, and planned on planting him in my backyard. My brother, tired and cranky that we were leaving at 6:30 in the morning, haphazardly threw his bags into the back and slammed the door. The little guy was completely crushed. His little poinsettia arms were broken and bleeding out white sap everywhere. I started sobbing and yelling right there in the parking lot. My brother thought I was crazy, but months later, after I brought it up in every gathering, he came to understand what that poinsettia meant. 

Fast forward to last year. For my birthday, my brother gave me a new celebratory poinsettia. The next week, I went home for Thanksgiving, and the poinsettia promptly died. Or came close to it.

So, if you took the time to read through that long, tragic, italicized story, you'll understand how sad I was. This new poinsettia was my second chance at redemption. At it died. Within two weeks. Now, My roommate graciously gave up the kitchen sink as I tried to nurse this pathetic plant back to health. It seemed worse than futile. Nearly all of the leaves dropped off and just a few sad barren stalks remained. I didn't give up though and a couple weeks later tiny new leaves began to sprout.

We both would be leaving to our respective home states soon though, abandoning this helpless wounded plant to fend for itself and likely die the final death. I had to do the unthinkable then. I had to ask someone who I wasn't really in much contact with to come to the house every day and keep my poor little guy alive for the 3 weeks I was gone. (I really need to make more friends in Sandy). I got back, and found that true to his word, this old friend had kept my baby alive.

And, 7 months later, look at him now!

There are few things quite as inspirational as a poinsettia that refuses to die. I dare you to find a better anecdote against discouragement.