In Dark, Murky, Unclear Places

Today the flair moment comes when a horticulture professor tells us that Kate’s avocado plant will thrive now that it’s in soil and not water. Last summer, we kept the spouted avocado plant in water so long, and it didn’t do well. But we just transplanted a new sprouted seed into dark, nutrient rich soil.

Moving that seed–with all those roots and the new stem leafing on top–seemed strange to me because the water was so clear, so refreshing, and so very lit with glorious sun. Isn’t that the best environment? Isn’t that the obvious goal for flourishing? Clarity! Light!

Now, the roots go into a dark and unclear environment.

I learn from soil science about the particular nutrition this soil offers. I learn the beauty of darkness. I learn that roots exposed to too much light endure unimaginable stress; they need the darkness to absorb nutrients and anchor themselves. When placed in light, roots grow frantically and abundantly to try and avoid the light. It only looks like thriving.

Roots grow away from light. Roots grow to where they find the moisture and nutrients they need–downward and hidden, dark and unclear–because that’s where they thrive.

I look at the newly planted avocado in that dark rich soil. I see two process at work: the stem that reaches upward, absorbing all the light, and the roots that seek the hidden, dark place of rest that receives all it needs.

When part of me stays underground, and if things feel unclear or murky, I rest in the Lord because I know that sometimes, when the light fades and clarity leaves, it’s because I’m here to absorb what I need for the next stage of growth.

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