Why I Am Not An Orchid

painterly-orchid.jpg If I were a flower, I'd want to be an orchid. I've always loved orchids--any and all varieties, but especially the Phaleonopsis. I have one that is classic white and stands as one of the only things in my house seemingly unaffected by dust. This plant has presence. It's pristine blooms gracefully arch and linger over it's broad glossy leaves. An orchid is effortlessly exquisite. Some are stunning in simplicity while others fascinate with mesmerizing detail and color. No matter what pot you put them in, they always look graceful. They have been unfairly characterized as tempermental or difficult to care for. This is not true. While they are generally tropical plants that do best in humid climates, the orchid is rather compliant and acclamating. Most impressively, most orchid blooms can last up to three months before they gently fold and float off their branches. I shudder to think that there have been some that have tossed a finished orchid away like a single use potted mum from the grocery store (okay...even those you can put in the ground outside). Orchids, once finished, take a break from center stage and rest. You need only to cut it's branch above the last node from which it bloomed, and your orchid will revive itself and rebloom in a few months. I have one orchid that has rebloomed four times already in the last several years. Every two years or so, I spend the morning with my orchid and trim her roots and repot her in new orchid medium, but other than that, our relationship is but a mere five minute soaking once a week. She's perfect, and I need not disturb perfection.

You can see why I would love to be an orchid, but I'm not. In reality, I am much more like the rosebush that resides in my garden. Like the ubiquitous rose, there is nothing particularly special about me, yet there is no other quite the same. I am tough and hardy, able to survive a broad range of weather. Much to my chagrin, I, too, have thorns...and prickly masses of leaves that guard and protect my sense of self. A rose's blooms are beautiful and fragrant, if you take the time to come close to investigate. The greatest similarity, though, is with my pruning habits. Unlike an orchid, I cannot stand pristinely unblemished for months on end, take a break, then come back as perfectly as before. In order for me to bloom, I must undergo regular pruning and deadheading. I am pruned by the Lord himself. He trims the unnecessary and all that detracts from the glorious beauty of Himself in me. He carefully snips and sometimes whacks off all that is dead or infected, ugly and useless. A rosebush that is never pruned grows unruly and offers only weak blooms. Though I may wish to be effortlessly exquisite like an orchid, I am truly thankful I am effortlessly caught up in the beauty of Christ, who prunes me to look more like Him: "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.