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Digging Deeper

It's long been suspected and now is proven that talking to your plants can help them grow. What may be less noticeable is what plants say to us.

A heat wave that is expected to last at least ten days has set up camp in our part of the world. Knowing the ways long stretches of high temperatures can affect our wellbeing, I appreciated an observation shared by a friend who is an accomplished gardener. It sent me down a short internet rabbit hole to learn more. 

I learned some plants can flip their leaves so the lighter colored bottom surfaces face upward to reflect the light and therefore, the heat. Others have leaves that curl up in order to limit their exposure to baking sunlight.

Referencing the ways their Missouri native plants will respond to the hot days ahead my gardener friend said they imagined the plants saying, "Fine, we'll just go deeper. We've got this." It's true. When exposed to high temperatures, plants are able to instruct their root systems to create longer, deeper roots. The growth makes it possible to absorb more water and nutrients.

We humans have learned many ways to respond to heat, especially the heat of high emotions or stress. Sometimes, the best we can do is take some time away from the situation. In other words, we may need the safety of curling up and turning away as a temporary solution.In other situations, we can change our outlook or attitude. We can find a lighter, more manageable response.

I really like the value of going deeper. Colossians 3:7 tells us:

Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught. (CEB)

Some strategies can help us cope when the temperature of our lives gets too high. Accepting the situation and focusing on what is in our control are helpful steps. We can remember what we learned from previous times of adversity. We can accept what we are feeling and grieve when something is lost.  . 

All of this is more refreshing when we begin by remembering who we are and whose we are. We are the beloved children of God. Our faith teaches that God is with us in life's difficult and easy times. When Jesus was facing his final days, a promise was made. Jesus said, 

"I will not leave you orphaned." (John 14:18)

He went on to tell us that the Holy Spirit would remain with us, and because of that, we could believe this promise:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. (John 18:27 NRSV-Updated Edition)

A Master Gardener will tell you that a plant's response to intense heat only works for so long. At some point, the plants will need extra attention to thrive. So it is with us. We can find care within our faith community and reach out to others when the situation becomes more than we should bear. Along the way, we can also know that God, Three-in-One, is with us. Our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer abides with us and says, "Dig deeper. We've got this."

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