Life Lessons from an Old Planter

A sweet friend’s neighbor recently passed away.  He’d fallen out of a tree and died due to complications from his injuries.  This man left a major impact on my friend and her family – they’d celebrated birthdays and holidays together.  His family wanted to have him buried in their home country of El Salvador, and to raise the money needed they held an estate sale at their house this past weekend.  I’ve always been a “yard-saler” at heart, but knowing that the money was going to help this family put their loved one to rest made me determined to leave with something.

There wasn’t much there that I was interested in and I was considering just leaving a donation when I saw this pretty little plant. The family’s yard was completely full of vegetation, all different sizes and varieties from fruit trees to flowers to cacti.  Everything was for sale, including the plants, and although I didn’t really like the planter it was in I knew it had to come home with me.

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It was obviously well-loved and cared for, as was every plant they had in their yard.  But the planter needed some love too, so I scraped off the vine that had been growing up the side of it, wiped it down with a damp sponge, and pulled out the spray paint.

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I covered the plant carefully with a plastic garbage bag.  I knew that I was basically creating a greenhouse effect on an already hot day, so I worked quickly after this point.

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I used leftover outdoor spray paint in a happy yellow color I’d already used on another project.

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Three coats (and a huge pitcher of water later), this plant was looking much cheerier.  The leaves had wilted in the heat a little, but perked back up about an hour after I’d watered it.

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I placed the plant just outside the glass door of our kitchen, right next to the girls’ sand and water table where we often play together.  It reminds me how precious life is – how the simplest thing that we might do every day can be the very thing that takes our last breath.  I want this plant to remind me that we never know when it’s our last day, and how we need to make every one that we have count.  Whenever I look at it I say a prayer of thanks for another day of life, another breath in my lungs, another beat of my heart.  And I also say another prayer – one asking God to help me leave this earth having made it a better place, just as this man did for others.

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