Galatians 5:22 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (NIV)
About nine years ago, a friend gave me a small Hoya plant. Its thick, narrow leaves are elongated, of a waxy texture, and grow individually along a tough sort of vine. In some spots the leaves grow in a cluster, but are still just one per sprout.
Several years ago, I met another friend who had a Hoya, the vines of which were travelling along the railing and up the wall to the rafters in her sunroom. It also had the most intricate clusters of flowers, something mine had never had.
These past several years have taken me away from home more than I've been here, and as well as always making sure my plants are properly watered before leaving, I "talk" to them, telling them they will be missed and that I will be back soon. One can take from that what one wishes. Some say there is communication with other life forms, that they are nurtured by our voice; others will say that in speaking to them we're really only speaking to benefit ourselves.
Recently, on my return home from several weeks away, my Hoya greeted me with a most beautiful gift. There, proudly bursting from the vine, was a cluster of 15 little closed cups which soon opened into the most magnificent velvety-smooth soft-pink star-shaped flowers. A smaller star of delicate yellow was embedded in its center, the very center of which was a brilliant red with a tiny white dot in the middle. Further along the vine, one more tiny cluster was forming for its "birth".
Nothing had been done to "force" the flowers, nor had I been upset that the plant had not produced any in the past. My Hoya was important to me the way it was, and although I'd sometimes wondered what it would be like to see some flowers, it didn't seem likely after nine years.
The gift of the Hoya is a beautiful example of how extending patience, care and kindness, without expectation, produces gifts when we least expect them.
Prayer: Lord, bless us with your grace to practice self-control in those times when we are tempted; faithfulness when we are challenged; patience when we are rushed; gentleness where there is harshness; goodness and kindness in times of trouble; and may we approach each situation with love, joy and peace. In your name we pray. Amen.