Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-30
I have a plant in my kitchen. I don’t even know the name of it, but I have had it for a little over 2 years. After we got the plant, we got a kitten, who eventually grew to a full blown 16 pound wonder! We discovered along the way, that our cat loves to eat plants and, in fact, will eat just about anything green. (He loves baby romaine, sprouts and arugula for example.) After catching Triscuit, (our cat), eating my plant, I moved it to the top of a very tall secretary’s desk and proceeded to forget it was there – similar to “out of sight, out of mind.” Well, as a result, this plant did not get watered regularly and it began to wither and fade. Being a water plant, the bulbs lost their fullness and some of them died altogether, but some remained as I got better about remembering to water it. New leaves would emerge and reach for the sky – but the bulbs from which they came, never fully recovered. To this day, they remain somewhat “prune-like” and sad looking – but they still produce.
I’ve become a lot better about watering it because I have learned that even though it is just a plant, it is still one of God’s creations and by bringing it into my home and life, it is my responsibility to take care of it – to nurture it – and to help it along.
This little plant came to me whole and beautiful. It was because of the cat chewing on it, and my moving it to another place and forgetting, even neglecting to water it – I made life for the plant significantly more difficult and therefore, the plant had to make changes to itself to insure its self-survival. Even though my neglect changed this plant, it did perk up once I resumed its care, but it was never quite the same. Now, in its “handicapped” state, it is a little more fragile, but it throws up new green shoots – some still die, but I continue to trim, water, and talk to my plant.
There are many parallels to this story, but this is the one I want to use:
In my personal like, I am very much like this plant. I was born perfect and whole, but I was born to very imperfect parents. I developed many “coping skills” in order to survive my childhood and teen years, never thinking anything was wrong.
When I was 17, I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was through the interaction I had with my new found friends, and the teachings of the Gospel that I learned, through the Holy Ghost, that I could be made whole. The damage of my childhood had created many deep scars though and the coping mechanisms that I had learned as a child were hard to unlearn. I continued to struggle for years with depression of the darkest kind.
As with my plant, I made adjustments the best I could with whatever understanding I was given – and like my plant, I had withered in some places, died in others and thrived in still others. Upon studying the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I learned that my life matters. I learned it was/is okay to be imperfect – I learned that I will never be perfect unless and until I allow the Savior in my life to help me. Without Him, I am imperfect.
We are all like my plant – some of us are neglected, some of us neglect ourselves and others, but however we are, the most important thing we can learn is that with the Savior, we can be made whole – even with all our handicaps.
My imperfections combined with His perfection makes me strong and more resilient. Of this a bear witness. I would not be where I am today without His strengthening and perfect love for me.