Chain reaction

by Christine Berglund

The lovely “Spider Lily” is not a lily at all, and doesn’t even resemble a lily. It is, however, very spidery in its appearance. This is due to the way it grows; branching out in a few places, but the tips continuing to produce flowers.

The older flowers produce thin pods of seeds on spidery stems all along the main stem. They grow every which way, with the large round flower clusters at the end of the ever-lengthening stems.

Recently a garden visitor told me they reminded him of the fanciful drawings in the Dr. Seuss books, and I will have to agree. This is especially true at the end of the season, when the branched stems get so heavy that they twist and turn into odd, surreal shapes.

The Cleome will produce those flowers and seed pods until the end of the season. The seed pods are continually bursting open and scattering new seed in places that may not be convenient or attractive for next year.

I have gathered quite a few seeds from these plants, and I intend to share them at a plant swap soon. That way my fellow gardeners can enjoy these strange and beautiful plants, too.

And so the Cleome plant, and its seed, keeps going, and going, and going…Like a botanical chain reaction.

My father was a postal worker, and growing up I remember how much he detested “chain letters.” These were illegal, but many people sent them anyway, so they kept going and going.

The superstition was that if you received a chain letter, you would re-type it ten times and send to ten people, or something bad would happen to you.

Most of them even included terrifying stories of the misfortunes of people who did not pass them on, and fabulous success stories of those who did.

I wonder why nobody seemed to question how those threatening stories or the stories of great riches got into the chain letter, since the point was to copy it verbatim?

Now we have a digital version of these chain letters. Chain emails started proliferating some years ago, with the same threats of doom if you didn’t send them to ten new victims, and promising riches and good luck if you did.

Now it has been further refined into a social network phenomenon. You must share a picture or a status update if you love Jesus, even sometimes with warning that “God saw you read this.”

Recently this subject came up in one of my groups. Many felt guilty if they didn’t follow the directive to forward the picture, message, or whatever. Others are realizing that this does not prove your Christianity even with the veiled threats and accusations. Nor does it mean that you are a lesser Christian if you don’t.

One message even instructed “Share if you love Jesus, scroll down if you love Satan.” Really? How does the original writer know this? I would scroll down just to prove them wrong.

Think of it. If we really wanted to share the “best of the best” in mass quantities, then we would send or post whole books of the Bible all day long.

Jesus says what to do if you love him. “If you love me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). If we are busy doing this, we won’t have time to copy and paste everything that contains a demanding message.

We are not obligated to pass along any and every good thought, saying, picture, or even Bible verse.

If you love Jesus, please don’t feel compelled to copy and paste this column!

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