We have a number of plants in the yard that I love. Bella, the Banana Plant, is definitely my favorite. We have Bella and Baby Bella (yes, I name plants and cars and everything). Before the storm, Bella was throwing up a beautiful new leaf about every 7-9 days. Growing, growing, growing! Every slight wind gave Bella a chance to dance. She was always bouncing and growing; Bella is a happy Banana plant.
For all the logic smart people reading this, stop rolling your eyes. Happy dancing banana plants are a thing … really.
However, Hurricane Irma abused Bella, horribly. I came home to find her in tatters. Pulling up to the house and into the driveway, I breathed a sigh of relief that the HUGE oak trees in the front yard had not fallen. The house looked beat up but ok. However, I almost immediately went to check on Bella. My heart sank a bit as it looked like every bit of her had been ripped and torn.
Except for one tender shoot that looked like it was trying to come up.
We had to move on and check out the house inside and out. Everything was ok, but plenty of shingles had been torn off the roof. Also, big trees and large tree limbs were down in the backyard. The fence in the back was badly damaged as well. The house inside was just as we left it and no windows were cracked or broken.
The next morning I checked out Bella a little more carefully. You can’t really tell in the photo to the right, but some of the leaves had wrapped around or folded over the tender shoot coming up. I am not a botanist, but instinct said that can’t be a good thing, so I unfolded and try to clear the way for the new growth. And yes, I am the middle-aged guy you see in the front yard talking to plants. I said, “Bella, you fight for this. You’ll be back to dancing soon.” When Dwayne and Dante (our landlords) came over to help clean up the yard, they pruned off all the dead and dying leaves and left the one shoot to grow.
Like plenty of others, I often look at nature and see direct symbolism that correlates with our own journey in this world. this is one of those situations.
There aren’t many folks in the world who don’t know what it is like to be happy bouncy one day only to have everything stripped away during a raging storm or life situations. Many people know what it is like to have tragedy swallow up and threaten to destroy any chance of future growth. They know what it is like to have the remnants of a dead or dying past surround potential healing with discouragement. Many of us know and what it is like to move through life with ease only to be sidelined and encumbered by memories of dreams that died too quickly.
Yes, many people know far more pain than they should. Yet, as long as we draw breath remember to look for that one small shoot trying to find its way into the sunlight, there is hope.
Bella is a banana plant. She doesn’t know or care who I am, but our efforts to bring her back to health is something she couldn’t do on her own. The knowledge and abilities we have helped release her to be able to thrive again. I am not God, thank goodness or the world would have ended when I was a two-year-old having a tantrum. However, like Bella with our help, it’s important to remember that God is so much more than our awareness of who He is and His love for us as our Creator and Caretaker. He understands what we really need to grow and thrive so much more than we do.
He sees the storms we go through and how they effect SO much more than what we can see and perceive. He is faithful to come and remove hindrances that would confine or halt our future. When we may not see or understand a way to get the bounce back in our step and dance in the wind, He comes along to prune away the old version of ourselves, the one that threatens to stifle this new season, so that healing and growth can continue.
The storm seeks to steal beauty, but the core of who we are as treasured souls will never be defeated. We are worth being cared for, protected, encouraged and watched over as we fight to thrive again.
After the storm, that one tender shoot will fill out and bring forward others. We will be back to dancing soon.
Being free is good,