My wife puts old batteries in the drawer. She expects somehow that when she retrieves them they will magically have regained their charge. There is no precedent behind this. I have at times ruminated that such intrepid faith might be part of a mother’s tool kit necessary for the raising up of children.
She did something similar with a plant which was getting unruly and overgrown. My wife took some shears to it, and carved the whole thing back, drastically, until the tree ended up denuded and bereft. All that was left was the stalk, stark and ridiculous as if searching for a fig leaf to hide its shame. “It needed to be pruned”, she said.
As if to add insult to injury, she put the plant downstairs out of the way. Over the course of the winter we didn’t water it. We forgot all about it as it sat in the dark. Once spring rolled around my wife, like her trick with the batteries, put the plant outside again without skipping a beat. It looked dead as a doornail. I finally put in my two cents worth…“there is no way that plant is going to ever sprout again.”
Not to be put off, my wife asked our old neighbour the plant expert. He looked at the dead-as-a-doornail plant, and weighed in, trying to be kind. “Did you water the plant?” he asked. “Hmmmmmm. Did you do ANYTHING to keep it alive? All winter long without water you say? You can try, but no, I don’t believe that plant will grow. You had better get another”
My wife listened and then continued in her own peculiar way. She watered the plant and put it outside in the sun like nothing had happened. She tended to it like a living plant every single day and - what do they say, expect the unexpected? Somehow, from out of nowhere emerged signs of life. A tiny green sprig. A patch of green. You could have knocked me over with a feather. It’s strange that after such a drastic pruning that life could be sustained, but that’s what happened.
Sooner or later in life, will come a fallow season where you too get the drastic treatment. It’s that part of life that does not make for good cocktail conversation and verifies the notion that it will indeed rain on the just as well as the unjust. You are not immune. It might put you out of action for a while like our plant banished to the darkness of the basement. It may destroy your faith.
Still, the plant made me sit up and take notice. I would class its resurrection as a minor miracle. I have no explanation, except that the plant’s inexplicable rejuvenation verifies the notion that what doesn’t kill you might actually cure you. On a philosophical level, there’s not much you can say to make bad stuff better. It is nonetheless instructive that there might indeed be some light at the end of the tunnel. The plant proved it. You many find me yet, covertly sneaking dead batteries into the drawer, just to see if they might come to life again. Apparently my doubt has been premature.
There are times in life when we witness the impossible, and it may be appropriate to dust off an arcane expression, “Lo, and behold”. We have heard that phrase before. It is extracted from ancient texts which speak of signs and wonders. Lo, and behold. Perhaps better put as “Open your eyeballs, you fool. Take a look. Look, and see. Now do you believe?”
There are those great “shalls” of Scripture. They sound pretty sure. “And the virgin shall be with child… and the desert shall bring forth life… and the dead shall be raised incorruptible… and the lion and the lamb shall lie down together… and the crooked way shall be made straight… they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” All such things are written especially for the sceptic. “Lo and behold…” expect the impossible. Why? Because such mysteries, even the plant knows. You don’t believe me? Take a look. Lo and behold.