Last weekend a friend and I decided to pop over to our town’s conservatory. Believe it or not, of all the years I have lived in my town, this was my first time making it out to the Wilder Park Conservatory. When I stepped foot into the conservatory, I was instantly filled with an unfathomable amount of joy. Seeing the beautiful and vibrant plants/ flowers put a smile on my face. I had not ventured to the Conservatory with the intention of learning a life lesson, but I feel like those are the best lessons you learn- when you’re not expecting them.
I like that the conservatory is home to many different plants. Just like the people of Elmhurst, the plants are all unique. As I was absorbing the beauty of the multitude of plants, I began to realize that we could learn a thing or two from the plants and staff at the Conservatory.
On the surface many of the plants seemed to be the same. However, they could not be more opposite. As I knelt down and really looked at the plants, I quickly learned that just because I think each big green leafy thing is the same, doesn’t mean that they are. Yes, the plant’s exteriors resemble each other, but they each have a unique and special role in the conservatory. Like many of the people in town, we may dress the same, eat & drink the same things, listen to the same music and enjoy the same pass times; however, this does not mean that we are the same. We may appear to be the same as say a best friend, parent or sibling, but we will not and can not be that other person. We were each created for a different and unique purpose.
Romans 12: 4-8 explains to us that “…each of us [have] one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function…We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us… If it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
This verse fits in perfectly with the point I’m trying to make. If we recognize that we are all unique and have a different “function” than our neighbor, then we can ultimately become better friends, family and community members. How can we expect to lead a content life or partake in relationships if we are neglecting our individuality? We can’t.
Piggybacking off of the lesson of individuality, some of the plants I was looking at were a bit well… rough -There really isn’t a gracious way to put it. The plants are still beautiful don’t get me wrong, but the struggle was pretty obvious. There are quite a few contraptions I spotted, that act as a support for the struggling plants. Instead of the conservatory staff uprooting the plant’s life (haha, get it?? up ROOT?) and move it, they decided to lend a helping hand in the plant’s growing process.
Lately I have noticed people seem rather bothered when others fail or come to a roadblock in their lives. I think that we should start thinking about reflecting the actions of the staff at the conservatory. Instead of becoming easily angered or aggravated with each other, we should offer help to those who are starting to lean over a bit too much. Once we ultimately accept and come to terms with our individuality, and recognize our own self worth, then we can offer our aid to others. Just because you are a great communicator or planner, doesn’t mean your friend is. The next time someone is talking about how stressed they are because of work or school, offer your gifts to help support the other person. Just because you are standing upright and not struggling with this task, doesn’t mean others can’t or are not at the moment.
I believe one of the most important things we can do is support others. Everybody needs a little encouragement and reassurance in their life. By recognizing our own worth, focusing on not being the same as everyone around ourselves and being content with that, allows for us to become better and more supportive friends.
P.S. Thank you to Ellaby Rohde for capturing these 3 lovely shots of me!