More than 20 years ago, Peter’s ceramics professor gave him a large cutting off his jade plant. We re-potted it, and it grew and thrived. I enjoyed the presence of that jade plant for many years.
Jade plants are commonly known as friendship trees and they are notoriously difficult to kill.
Time went by, and 3 little babies were born, and we were tired and that beautiful jade plant got neglected. We moved twice, bringing that tired plant with us - usually under-watered, with slightly limp leaves. A little bit of care and attention over a few weeks revived the plant and its beauty always made me feel happy.
Sadly though, life got busy, and that jade plant got forgotten. It sat in a corner and slowly dried up. It took a great many months - possibly a couple years to kill it completely, until one day, my daughter got tired of that dead plant and dumped it into the front yard so she could use the pot.
In that moment of seeing the beautiful jade plant dead on the front lawn, I realized that that symbolized a lot of what had happened over the past few years. We start with many dreams in life. We feel hopeful with the huge life we have in front of us, but then life happens. We set aside our dreams and just do what has to be done. Over time though, we slowly feel like we are the ones wilting a bit.
The day the jade plant died for good on the front lawn, I walked over, and pulled a piece of dead branch off, and stuck it in a mason jar.
Peter had just decided that summer, to purchase pottery equipment and follow his original dream of being a ceramic artist. The symbolism of his ceramic teacher grafting off a branch and handing it to Peter to cultivate and water and grow was not lost on me. We were taking something that had died and were choosing to put life into it.
Sometimes it feels easy to maintain status quo - when you have a jade plant that is half alive, you don’t have to give it much attention. It will hang on - but it won’t really grow. When you have a mostly dead branch, you have to give it a lot of attention so it will take root and grow into something beautiful.
It’s been 2 years of caring for this little plant and it’s still pretty small, but it looks happy and healthy and it gives me joy to know that dreams that were once thought dead can be brought back to life.