Another guest post by my wife Cheyanne. As usual, she has some awesome spiritual insights about what most of us wouldn’t stop to meditate about!
In the process of writing what became last week’s post I got curious about how trees are transplanted and pruned. So I went to faithful Elder Google and asked him a few questions, and I was amazed at my findings.
Did you know it is natural for a plant to go through a “transplant shock”? I sure didn’t, but in my personal experience it makes perfect sense.
After being transplanted a root system must recover and get back to a normal “root:shoot” ratio. A plant may have abnormal above ground growth – a die-back of twigs plus fewer and smaller leaf production. During the beginning stages of regrowth the plant will be more vulnerable to stressful weather and landscape conditions. Short-term drought, hot and windy weather, and early freezes which usually wouldn’t affect the plant will now result in worse damage.
What does this mean to me or to anyone who has ever went through a major life transition (whether geographic or lifestyle)?
For me, I was relieved because, I have died-back and have had weaker spiritual production this past year. After being transplanted we may not thrive like we once did, areas we were growing in might begin to die some, and we may become vulnerable to things that once didn’t bother us. Seasons of spiritual drought and “culture” differences may cause us emotional, maybe even spiritual damage that once upon a time would’ve just been a part of life. The storms of life, which before would’ve only caused a slight mental setback, now result in visible damage.
Another interesting find: according to an article I read it is better to transplant a plant in autumn or spring. Autumn because it is already dying back and getting ready for winter. Spring because there is plenty of sunshine and rain to help it survive the move.
So we may move in a time when everyone else is dying back and we just sort of fit in, but we must still keep working hard or we will die in the winter time. It would be easy to set back and not work on regrowing since we look like everyone else, but that is a guaranteed way to never see spring again. Then there is the flip side, we may be transplanted and die back when everyone else around us is blooming. We may feel cheated out because we are having to focus on surviving when our friends are thriving in their respective areas of life and ministries. Regardless of the time of our transplant we must trust the Master that He still has a plan for “when the leaves are falling the roots are growing.”
Now we know the best season to transplant, but how old should the plant be to be successful? Should the plant be older and stronger or new and young? Well, the smaller the tree the more successful the move. When a plant is younger and smaller it can recover sooner and easier as there is a better chance of transplanting most of the roots. But even if a young tree with a 1” diameter trunk is transplanted with only 5% of its roots, after its first year the root system should regrow to 100% of its original size. The roots and top are once again balanced.
This one should be a little easier to understand, but I still want to explain. Maybe our job, ministry, or relationships just started really thriving well, there is finally proof of potential. Maybe there has already been a few blossoms and suddenly we’re being forced to a new area. We wonder why, we wonder if we will be able to recover and feel a possibility again. Why would God allow things to change when we just finally felt as if we were growing? Well, maybe we’ll be more useful elsewhere. If God had waited until we started bearing good fruit then the transplant would be harder and more shocking when He was ready for us in the next place. There is a chance too many of our roots would have been left behind and we wouldn’t have survived the move. Instead within a year we can bounce back and begin blooming once again.
While we are here discussing the roots of the tree why don’t we talk about the water that those roots soak up. Before and after the move, a tree needs plenty of hydration. It takes much of the plant’s stored energy to establish a new, and better, root system after a transplant. But in that move there needs to be good drainage and the plant shouldn’t be in standing water, or it will become water logged and die.
What does this mean for us? It means we must have a good dose of the Word and have been storing all our learned information. It means that we need to have a good spiritual connection, or we won’t even survive the move, let alone begin to put down roots elsewhere. And where we move we must continue to dive into the Word and do what we know to do or we will shrivel up, even if we had plenty of stored energy before the transplant. We can’t just assume the energy, fight, knowledge, and strength from before will be enough for us to reestablish roots. No, we must re-immerse ourselves into the truth of the Word and into the study of our job/ministry.
But even further, we can’t keep going back to the same things over and over again. We can’t keep going back to the first rain drops of our spiritual walk, our career, or our calling. Trying to restart from the beginning and get it all right this time. We can’t focus on encouraging ourselves over and over hoping it will help us “suffer” through. No, we must let our roots grow longer and focus on becoming better. We must go back to the fighting field and try to keep growing towards our potential where we left off. An encouraging word is nice, but it we focus on feeling good we will shrivel up and die. We must keep obtaining new water and growing.
Last but not least – patience. Don’t rush the plant. Don’t give up on it if it doesn’t seem to be growing or it hasn’t bloomed yet… Don’t give up on yourself. Maybe you need to spend a little extra time reestablishing your roots before visible growth can begin. And surely don’t try to rush the process. There is a season to everything and we all know winter sometimes lasts longer than we would like it to, but just know, spring, the time of blooming, is the next season no matter how long the drought.