The graceful way that a climbing vine wraps itself around the ribs of a trellis is a cause for admiration.
However, this visual delight does not happen automatically. After a week away from home, I went outside to see how my flowers fared in my absence. A beautiful “Blue Picotee” morning glory was blooming low to the ground on the white arbor.
I wondered at first why the vine had not grown much, as it had been just as tall a week earlier. Upon further inspection, I saw the long stem bunched up near the base of the arbor, rather than climbing up the side.
The casual observer of a beautiful trellis with a climbing plant often does not realize that the plant may have had a little bit of help.
For the next fifteen minutes I provided that help to my treasured plant. After carefully unraveling various pieces, I then wrapped them upon the wood of the lattice, tucking in the leaves in strategic places where I thought they would hold well while the plant tightened its own grip on the wooden slats.
I placed these delicate stems in an upward direction from the ground. Imagine my surprise when the result was a three -foot-tall plant, instead of one that was eighteen inches from its base.
What had been the problem? Aren’t morning glories supposed to climb? Yes, generally speaking, they do.
There are several ways that a vine can climb. The morning glory uses the method of spinning its young stems around in a circle. It can take a couple of hours for a complete revolution. As it twirls, it finds an upright support, and then twines around it.
Once in a while, an errant stem will lean away from the support that it was destined to climb. As it grows, it becomes too heavy to resume its ascension to brighter and sunnier places.
This is the time when the gardener needs to intervene. If that does not occur, the result will be a tangled mess. The plant, bunched up near the ground, will have its leaves turn yellow and die. The blooms will be hidden inside the dark mass, instead of spread out airily along the sides and top of the garden entrance.
The vision of the gardener will be thwarted, and the plant will not thrive as well as it should.
Our efforts should center on a constant direction upward, no matter how easy it is to stay tangled up in the world’s affairs, as my morning glory lay tangled up in its own vines.
“…Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13, 14, NASB).
Note that the call of God is “upward.” We can stay muddled in our own interests and concerns, or we can look upward, and then keep moving in that direction. It is a decision each one of us has to make.
God calls us to move upwards. His own hands guide us to do that, like an expert gardener. Will you allow him to enable you to be the most beautiful person you can be?