The Blooming Orange Clivia


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Written by Rev. George Vink

When my Facebook asks, “What’s On Your Mind?,” I usually just move on. Not today! In the Lenten season of reflection, it seems necessary to stop, look and listen…to a plant. Why?

Twenty-six years ago we were making plans to escape Michigan’s cold and join others at Gulf Shores in Alabama. But, we had a decision to make. Visalia First Christian Reformed Church’s call to come minister in California needed an answer. Uncertainties abounded. Fleeces needed to be put out. Questions about housing needed certainty. Two anxious sons at home wanted to know. Certainly, the Ivanrest congregation wondered. A long-awaited trip to the Netherlands was set. So, what about the Clivia?

The call to Visalia was taken. After one son’s and several summer weddings, we headed West. As expected, still anxious sons came along. Upon our arrival a plant awaited me in my new study. A welcoming sign, gifted by Ivanrest’s secretary and custodian.

Today that plant sports six blooms in defiance of the snow and cold just on the other side of thin glass. It came East ahead of us on the moving truck, watered by a helpful driver. It has survived weeks of my being gone to Vietnam as well as longer vacations and a four-month sabbatical. How?

It wasn’t all that demanding. A little moisture and indirect light did it. When I neglected it, a caring custodian at Visalia CRC nurtured it. I think it’s a metaphor of relationships, including the vertical one with our Creator and the plant’s. Neglect it, and you’ll need a caring friend to help out. Nurture it, and you’re rewarded. I reflect! Its origin was a gift of grace and the friendship of two who knew me best. It’s still here because another custodian cared. Now, it’s Shirley’s doing. Talk about relationships! What’s your Orange Clivia? Is it blooming?


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