I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon. People will dwell again in his shade; they will flourish like the grain, they will blossom like the vine—Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon. Hosea 14:5-7
Because I have a strong intolerance to heat, any gardening I do has to be with plants that can survive with minimum care. I remember pre-MS diagnosis, I would spend days sweating under the sun weeding, pruning and fertilizing rose bushes. I had more than 50 of them in my garden and loved working around them. Now, my roses reside in earth boxes where they do not need weeding and where once a week watering is enough for their growth. I prune as I cut blooms and leave them to survive and thrive with minimal intervention. The same goes for my orchids that once rested on shelves on the porch. I watered and fertilized and sprayed for bugs. Now, they live in trees fastened into chicken wire pens filled with sphagnum moss. Watered by the rain, protected by the trees and stimulated by changes in temperature, they bloom where they are planted. Flowers magically appear stunning me as I drive through the gate and see them shining from among the trees. I think the surprise makes them even more valuable to me. This morning, I ventured out of the air conditioning to an orchid farm to find a few new varieties and finish decorating the oak trees that line our driveway. Most of the orchids that I have are big box hardware store castoffs or tiny snippets that I can buy for less than $10 each. I wanted to see what else is out there. I was overwhelmed with the variety of plants at the farm and within five minutes reached the amount I predetermined I could spend today. The biggest surprise was discovering that orchids have a smell! I often display cut roses in the house. Roses smell familiar, of antique stores, perfume and grandmas. But, orchids! Orchids smell like beaches, sunscreen and saltwater! Growing high in the trees, I can’t smell them, but boxed on the passenger seat of my car, the smell filled the air making me want to pull off the road and just sit and breathe in their presence. The orchid smell reminded me of a quote by Mahatma Gandhi on Christianity. He said, “Don’t talk about it. The rose doesn’t have to propagate its perfume. It just gives it forth, and people are drawn to it. Live it, and people will come to see the source of your power.” A lot of us were raised to believe that we had to convince people to believe in Christ. That it was our mission to “win” them over for God’s team. But, it is not about winning or losing, testifying or being shut down. Our faith should radiate from us so strongly through our actions that people are drawn to know what we believe and why. Not all roses and orchids have a scent. Some are merely beautiful. But the ones that fill the world with a heavenly smell, those are the ones that I want to be with. Don’t just look pretty. Smell like Christ!