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ADVENTURES OF A SENIOR CITIZEN

Planting flowers can benefit us all way more than we ever think

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I love flowers and have always appreciated people who took the time to plant and cultivate them.
I have lived in many different houses and communities in my lifetime, and the people who lived there before me left much evidence of their lives by the flowers and trees that they planted.
Some yards have been relatively barren of flowers while others have abounded with tulips, peonies, roses, fruit trees and flowering shrubs.
I believe that flowers are one of the signs of God’s extravagant love.
We can exist without roses, lilies and daffodils. Our bodies will not die because the flowers are missing or the birds do not sing.
But if we want truly to live life to the full, we need to take in the beauty of our world which we may find in unexpected places as well as in ordinary things, when we have eyes to see and ears to hear.
When our children were small, I never seemed to have time to plant flowers, with the exception of a few zinnias which are so hardy that tossing a few seeds in even unpromising ground could still produce some bright spots in a flower bed.
I did manage to find time for a small vegetable garden, as eating seemed to be more of a necessity than flowers.
Now that our children are gone from home, I still find that the time for growing flowers is never quite enough. However, I have discovered that something deep within me needs to plant flowers! I am missing out on something important if I do not. Why should I postpone the enjoyment of sweet peas, lilacs, roses, and honeysuckle?
I believe that we all need the experience of living with beauty and things beyond ourselves. We need to look at the stars, to sense the vastness of the universe and the greatness of our Creator, to appreciate all living things.
My spirit needs to take time for those things which lift and bless and get my focus off of myself. I mustn’t be always doing those things which are solely for keeping the body going. Re-creation will come also to my body as I allow my soul to be ministered to. Working with and enjoying flowers is just one way of being re-created.
I must plant flowers also because there are others in the world who need to look at flowers, to smell the roses and have their spirits fed.

Perhaps they do not have the time, or energy, or money for planting flowers. It is a legacy which I can leave for others, most of whom will always remain unknown to me—a legacy which will provide renewal for tired and troubled spirits.
Johnny Appleseed made his mark by planting apple trees across the country. He inspired others to do the same so that this land of ours is dotted with trees started a long time ago by this generous, farsighted man.
Since trees take much longer to grow to maturity, many times we do not live in a place long enough to enjoy the trees or their fruit ourselves, but we are planting for others to enjoy.
This is true of seeds of kindness sown in the hearts of others. The most valuable planting that all of us do is in terms of loving human relationships. Yet how much time do we take to plant those seeds which will some day bear fruit in the lives of others?
Oh, how busy we think we are! There are people who are lonely and longing for friends, for someone who cares. A neighborly visit or time spent in lending a sympathetic ear is more important than many other things on which we spend our time and energy.
As you can see, there are more than a few ways to “plant flowers.” If we are to live life to the full, we should be “planting flowers” everywhere we are. In the process, we will move nearer to Paradise—the heavenly garden which God desires for each of us.

So..... I shall try to spend more time looking at the stars, listening to great music, being with children, looking for God in each person I meet and planting and smelling flowers. If all of us can do that, then we can know more nearly what it is to be fully alive. We can know the joy of living in God’s kingdom.

Ruth Justice Moorer, a resident of Las Cruces since 1996, is a former public-school science teacher and United Methodist pastor.

Ruth Moorer