My Liv­ing China Doll

Hope for the fu­ture

Activated - - FRONT PAGE - By Bonita Hele Bonita Hele is a free­lance writer and ed­i­tor in the U.S. and a mem­ber of the Fam­ily In­ter­na­tional.

When I was a child, we lived near an apart­ment com­plex hous­ing col­lege stu­dents. At the end of the school year, the stu­dents would give away or sell cheaply what­ever they didn’t want to haul home.

One day, my brother brought me home a China Doll plant. My mom, who has a green thumb, said it was a good find. I took it to my room and would set it out on the front porch ev­ery few days for some sun­shine. Af­ter I’d had the plant for a few months, its leaves started droop­ing and then fall­ing off un­til there were no leaves left. When I asked my mom what was wrong, she said it had gone into hi­ber­na­tion. A plant with­out leaves held no in­ter­est for me, so I put it in the back­yard with my mom’s other pot­ted plants, and there it stayed for quite some time, leaf­less and for­lorn.

And then, one day, my mom brought a plant to my room. Yes, it was my China Doll, and there were tiny sprouts at the tips of its branches. Soon the sprouts grew into new shoots and leaves, and even­tu­ally my plant was in full bloom again. This cy­cle con­tin­ued over the years.

I even­tu­ally moved away from home and left the China Doll with my mom and her green thumb. In one let­ter, my mom wrote: “I thought your China Doll had fi­nally died. I al­most tossed it, but you know how I hate to throw away a plant. I waited a while, and sure enough, it grew back fuller than ever.”

Last spring, I went to visit my mom. She has more time for gar­den­ing now that most of her kids have moved away, and the back yard was beau­ti­ful, full of aro­matic rose bushes and flower-cov­ered ar­bors and trel­lises … and my China Doll was now trans­planted into a new pot and was at least four feet tall.

As I be­gin the new year, some things seem to be hi­ber­nat­ing—a few dreams and goals—but with the sun­shine of God’s love, the wa­ter of His Word, and a lit­tle of His ten­der lov­ing care, they will blos­som in His good time. If He causes a sim­ple plant to be­gin anew and grow stronger year by year, how much more can we ex­pect Him to do for us, whom He loves dearly and for whom He cre­ated all the rest?

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