I am anxious. I walk around the supermarket, trying to think of what food I might need to exist another week. I hate it when it is this busy. It feels claustrophobic and unsafe. How sad that the only sense of security I feel these days is being away from people. I hurry over to deli section to find hummus, and glance at the plants. Normally I walk by them without a second thought, but for some reason today is different. I notice a plant in a simple white pot. It has tall sword-shaped green leaves with white stripes. It's simplicity and elegance catch my eye. I think it is called a snake plant? Into my cart it goes. I suppose impulse-buying house plants really is a phenomenon. Fallen once again into the trap of consumerism, I think wryly to myself. I am probably going to just kill it within a week, which makes my heart sink just a little. Might as well give it a shot, though.
I wander around and throw what other necessities I can find into the cart. Finally, I cannot deal with the crowd anymore, and I bolt for the registers. The cashier, a kind-looking older woman wearing fun earrings smiles, scans the plant, and says "Oh this one is so pretty. I hope you enjoy it."
"Thanks, hopefully I can keep it alive for a while," I replied. She seems so nice. Inwardly, I feel a small spark at her sweetness. Then I feel it die as I mentally spin, wondering if my interaction with her was too awkward. Why am I so strange? What do others think about me? Why has my discomfort and anxiety around people worsened again?
She hands me my receipt and I drive home, taking the less busy way. I turn music on to distract myself from the discomfort of my perceived awkwardness. After parking, I manage to make it up the stairs to my apartment in one trip with all the bags and the plant. Now, where to put it? I might actually have to open some blinds, now. I place it on the window sill and wish it the best. Her name is Persephone. I have always liked that name.
I am crying. Another family member just died. I do not understand death, it is so final and hard to fathom. One minute a living person resides on this earth with us, then they are just gone. The image of her body haunts my mind. As I am on my knees rocking back-and-forth and blinking through my tears, I see Persephone still alive and standing tall. It has been a long month and I am exhausted, but I feel my heart lift ever so slightly knowing that my plant has lived, and knowing I am caring for a living thing.
I am tired of crying. I have worn myself out with the ups and downs of my emotions. God seems silent. I thought I was numb before, but this is a new level. How fascinating. How frightening that the feeling that I do not want to keep living like this has slowly hatched in my mind like a sickly baby bird. Am I suicidal? I wonder. Not quite. Just tired of my mind racing, tired of my heart hurting, tired of grieving, tired of not understanding why I have felt this way for so many years. I should water my plant, she looks sad, too. Wilted and drained of life, just like me.
I am at the end of myself. I cannot do this alone anymore. My mind has spiraled down into a place where nothing makes sense. I simply cannot untangle it enough to keep up the pretense of functioning. I need help. I wonder if I still have that therapist's card. Maybe she will take my insurance. What if the way I feel is not actually normal and requires more targeted intervention? Sort of like repotting Persephone when nothing else I tried seemed to help her grow. I know there must be more to life than this and that God desires more for me than this. It is time to find myself a new pot.
I am a little better. I am talking to people about how I feel, praying again, hearing from God in small ways again. I am not where I want to be, but I am better. I have realized I must be patient with my mind and emotions as I begin to heal; it will take time just as the body takes time to knit itself back together from an injury. As I sit at my dining table, I notice I am actually enjoying the fresh air, music, and light flooding into my apartment through the open patio door.
There is now space in my mind to reflect. I glance at Persephone sitting proudly on the window sill. There were a few times I thought she would die over the last year. Yet, she has grown so tall and full, and seems to be improving now that winter is over, just as I am. I happened to look up her name recently and was stunned to find Persephone was both the goddess of the underworld and the spring. I smile at the perfection of the name. She was a constant through this last season - a living thing I could care for during a time I did not desire to care for myself. We have grown together over the last year. I am glad I did not give up on her, just as I was never abandoned by God to wither away. I feel so grateful that He stopped, picked me out, took me in, and cared for me. He lead me through this journey, as heart-rending as it was. Perhaps we all go through these stages of needing to be repotted. We must be plucked from a cramped and often rotten environment, and placed into fresh soil and surroundings where we can have space and resources to grow. I think that is what happened to me. Maybe things will be all right after all. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I am a little better.