The lavender in our garden is blue….as in sad, depressed, and pathetic.
In spite of what that old song says, lavender’s color is not really blue, it’s…well…lavender. Sometimes it is actually outright purple, which is one reason I love it.
But my failed endeavor to grow it sure makes me blue, and the drooping plant resembles my mood about the failure. Yes, this is one plant that eludes the list of success stories in our humble backyard garden. Even the new so-called “foolproof” variety, “Phenomenal,” has shown itself less than phenomenal when it comes to survival under my black thumb.
One beautiful stand of lavender had survived and thrived for me; but it was planted by someone else, in a garden in another state where we lived for two years. This was a desert region, which could explain why it was lush and beautiful.
Lavender doesn’t like wet soil. Water, though necessary for life, can be devastating to this finicky plant.
Of my dozen attempts to grow this sweetly scented old favorite, the best was on a little, mounded row by the edge of the front walkway. The little artificial hill kept the water drained off of the roots. Over the years, as the soil eventually flattened out, the lavender plants died off one by one.
Out of a row of seven, there now remains only one sickly, pouting plant, without any of the highly fragrant lavender flowers for which it was planted in such hope.
This last plant is definitely “blue.” It gives me pause to reflect on the things that make me sad.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4, NKJV).
There is a time for mourning, obviously. Also obvious from this verse is that we are promised comfort!
There are good reasons to be “blue.” The critical question is, what makes us blue? What saddens us?
Is it (like the rich young ruler) sadness about our possessions, or lack of them, or potential lack of possessions? “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15b). This is not a good reason for sadness.
Are we sad because we don’t feel that we are getting what we “deserve?” God help us if we do get what we deserve! In fact, God is the only one who can help us avoid getting what we deserve! “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
My lavender was sad and wasted away because I treated it like all the other plants in the garden. Lavender is a little stuck-up in its requirements, and will not thrive in normal growing conditions.
God doesn’t expect us not to be sad or blue. The apostle Paul had concern for the churches following him daily (2 Corinthians 11:28). We would do well to follow his example in working for the good of our brothers and sisters in Christ, beginning first by praying for them.
Jesus lamented over Jerusalem and its refusal to come to God.
Finally, Jesus commiserated with those who were sad, even though he already knew the positive outcome. “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). We are told to “Weep with those who weep…” (Romans 12:15b).
To follow Christ, we need to have empathy for others, sorrow for sins, and concern for the saints. This doesn’t leave much sadness for ourselves unless it means a sort of “constructive sadness” about our own inadequacies that brings us closer to God.