You may have seen the story about the woman who cared, she claims, for a succulent for two years only to discover it was fake. She has been getting international attention. Now I have known some pretty clueless people in my life but I do have to wonder if she made the story up for attention.
In any case, the idea of watering and caring for something that is not real struck me as worthy of attention. This woman claims she had a careful watering regiment (where did it go?), cleaned the plant by hand, and was so proud of it. Yet, the whole time it was fake. Nothing she did had any impact on it whatsoever, besides perhaps keeping it dusted. It was, to her, real and important and dependent on her care.
For Lent the church is reading Walter Brueggemann’s A Way Other Than Our Own. The passage he uses for last Sunday (the 1st Sunday of Lent) is Isaiah 55:1-2. A passage that poses the question: “Why do you work for that which does not satisfy and why do you spend money on that which is not sustaining?”
How many of us are watering fake plants to find meaning in our life? How much time do we spend caring for plastic? I’m not talking about things you might do that you enjoy, hobbies for example. They have their place in a healthy life. I am talking about relationships, plans, goals, and work that you do that uses up your time, wealth, health, and substance that has a seeming of something that is real but is ultimately inert lifeless plastic.
To approach it another way, what are you treating as real that has no roots and no life. I have known church goers who were faithful in their attendance, gave money to the church, were involved in its activities but, when their life hit a bump, found that all of their “churchiness” disappeared. It was never real. Marriages, careers, and even dreams so often turn out to be something that was fabricated, having the seeming of reality but none of the life.
The question for us is this: Are we willing to call a fake a fake? Are we willing to give up that invested time and energy to look for something real? Or, having bought into the lie for so long, having devoted yourself to the illusion, are you going to stay the course because it is safe and familiar?
Examine your life. Take a long hard look at what you call important. The truth hurts, we are told; but the truth will set you free.