That was in 1999. You’d think, with my track record with plants, the thing would be long wilted. But no, it’s green and growing and ugly (beauty is in the eye of the beholder, remember).
Even after having once been cut back to its roots, it stands over 5 feet high and is just as wide, its thick branches spreading out like an unruly child - branches that produce waxy, jungle-like leaves that spit wax because everything within a foot of it eventually acquires a waxy coating that’s a bugger to clean off.
During the summer months, Dean’s Jungle soaks in the sunshine on the back deck in a corner where I can’t see it, but where it gets plenty of wind, which, when strong enough, blows it over, spewing potting soil that you-know-who has to sweep up (not DH, and it’s his plant).
When fall comes around, it’s time to bring the monstrosity indoors. Last winter, my daughter-in-law kept it at their place since I didn’t have the room. So I claimed. Truth be told, I just didn’t want to make room for that dreadful thing. But, knowing what it means to my husband, I couldn’t bring myself to leave it outside once the nights brought killing frosts.
When spring arrived, guess what else did? And here I’d hoped the plant would grow on its adopted family. But no. Back on the deck Dean’s Jungle went to endure another windy summer. But come fall my daughter-in-law said she didn’t have room for it. She probably didn’t. Despite being blown over and alternately drowned and dried, the thing had grown up and out.
Fortunately for DH and unfortunately for me, we had the room downstairs since I’d given away my piano. Dean drove two 5-foot wooden stakes into the pot and tied the branches to them. At first the plant rebelled, dropping leaves like a mangy mutt during shedding season. Dean feared the plant was dying. I hoped it was.
But, alas, it was just preparing for another growth spurt. Now it thrives in the light streaming in from the southwestern window. Despite the fact that Dean forgets to water it and I purposely don’t. It just reaches for the sunlight and survives.
Dean’s Jungle is a living example of the kind of love Paul describes in1 Corinthians 13—a love that perseveres even when neglected. A steadfast love that never gives up, never fades, never wilts. A love that is everlasting.
The kind of love God has for us.
Father, forgive me when I take Your love for granted—when I ignore it, reject it, treat it as though it was something I deserve, something I’m entitled to. Remind me Your love is a gift I don’t even have to ask for. It’s there for the taking. Help me to love others as You love me. Amen.
More tea: Read Romans 8:31–39