Editor’s Note: In a nod to our Presbyterian heritage, we regularly feature a column from a PMMA® chaplain in our newsletter. This month’s column comes from Greg Schmidt, chaplain at Newton Presbyterian Manor.
By Greg Schmidt
Have you ever noticed how nature has this amazing way of informing you that you are not as disciplined as you would like to be? A few months ago, an assisted living resident and I planted several varieties of healthy, strong, beautiful plants in brand new containers that had been placed on a brand-new deck. More than 40 plants! It was fun, exciting and gloriously dirty work. We loved every minute of it. Once everything was planted, we generously watered our new arrangements with lots of water with liquid fertilizer in it – just like the pros do – so that the end result would be an AMAZING sight to behold. And it was! Seemingly everyone noticed and talked about the stunning array of ever-growing and ever-expanding display of floral beauty.
And then came late July and early August. And tucked in there was my vacation and an almost simultaneous hospital stay for the resident. And, here’s the kicker…a lack of communication on my part with any number of people who would have gladly continued the every-other-day watering…had I asked.
When I returned around 10 days later, a full 50% of the once luscious plants were in such severe stress, they withered and died. My compadre and I felt devastated. Defeated. For me, I knew it wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own.
And what happened became (yet another) series of lessons in life. Namely, one cannot live without water. It is life-giving. And one must have plans and effectively communicate those plans to those around them who share their passion and commitment. Here’s what hurts: I already knew that. I came up short. Again.
Jesus had a wonderful interaction with a woman who was drawing water from a well. He talked to her, not about the physical water itself, but about a spiritual, life-giving “water” that could forever change her life. If she “drank” from the water He was offering, her life would shift from being preoccupied with daily needs to understanding and pursuing never-ending life. With Jesus, she could discover life in this life because of His life.
My point? So often we get caught up in the details of day-to-day living – including things like beginning a project and pursuing what we believe will bring success to a venture – that we fail to stay connected to the source of our living. I’m not sure that’s “ironic.” Sometimes the most “obvious” is the very thing we neglect or overlook.
And that is exactly where an ever-present Heavenly Father comes in! He is always at the well. Ready to listen. To respond. To share. All we have to do is receive what Jesus offers and respond with our styles of life (our actions) to His generous offer. We also have to open the door of communication! We have to think hard about the outcome and/or consequences of our words and actions … or the lack thereof. And then we need desperately to share what visions we are dreaming with fellow, like-minded believers.
Will you join me in trying/learning to trust God and His people more? We’ve already learned it is the right thing to do! Right?! So, let’s step forward – arm-in-arm in faith – so the world at our doorstep might enjoy richer, fuller, more abundant lives. And May God receive the glory for the ever-growing, ever-expanding display of his growing kingdom.