My wife puts old batteries in the drawer. There is no explanation for this. She expects somehow that when she retrieves them they will magically have regained their charge. I could make comments about her sense of logic. There is no precedent to expect that batteries once dead, will come to life again. I have at times ruminated that this kind of intrepid faith might be part of a mother’s tool kit necessary for the raising up of children.
She did something of the same thing with a plant. It was getting unruly and too leafy, overgrown. My wife took some shears to it, and carved the whole thing back. Drastically. Then she carved some more. Maybe she was tired of picking up the dried leaves from the floor, but at any rate the tree ended up denuded and bereft. All that was left once shorn, was a thick stalk, cut off. It looked none too good, stark and ridiculous as if searching for a fig leaf to hide its shame. “It needed to be pruned”, she said.
Then as if to add insult to injury, she put the plant downstairs and out of the way. Over the course of the winter we didn’t water it. We forgot all about it as it sat there 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 an old neighbour who is a plant maven. 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? I don’t think you’ll see anything out of this plant but you can try. I don’t believe that plant will grow. You had better get another”
My wife listened in her own peculiar way and then continued to water the plant. She 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.
We don’t like pruning very much. Sooner or later in life, will come a fallow season where you will get the drastic treatment. It’s that other part of life that nobody likes and does not make for good cocktail conversation. It includes all those unpleasant feelings that are the fruit of being human, and the added sting that it will indeed rain on the just as well as the unjust. You are not immune. It will not leave you in a good temper. 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 think I would class its resurrection as a minor miracle. I have no explanation for the plant coming to life again, except that it 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, especially if you are the one going through the bad stuff. It is nonetheless instructive that there might eventually be some light at the end of the tunnel. The plant proved it. I am encouraged. You many find me covertly sneaking dead batteries into the drawer yet, just to see if they might come to life again. Apparently my incredulity has been mistaken.
There are times in life when we witness the impossible, and at such junctures it may be appropriate to dust off an arcane expression, “Lo, and behold”. We have heard that turn of a 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 incorruptable… 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.