Each summer we grow a garden, but this particular plant claimed its own home in a pot on the back patio—it required separate living quarters than the rest of the produce. The Kansas weather turned cool as it does in late fall and the garden naturally died out, but my husband wasn’t quite ready to part with his precious plant. And so, it took up residence on our kitchen sink.
Oh, how I hate this plant. Let me count the ways . . .
It’s a scorpion pepper plant shipped as seeds from overseas.
I do NOT like spicy food; in fact, my husband (half) jokes that I think sour cream is spicy. I will never partake in the fruits of this plant's labor. In fact, I’m afraid to touch it for fear of my eyes watering.
It’s a mess.
Its leaves fall from the stems into the sink—and not the side that conveniently houses the garbage disposal where I could just sweep them in with the other scraps. Nope. I have to pick each little leaf out and transfer it to the other side of the sink or over to the trash to dispose of it. It’s not a big undertaking but enough to be a pain.
When my husband waters it, the dirt slips out the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot onto the drainboard of our porcelain sink—our white porcelain sink. Now don’t get the idea that my house is pristine and spotless, but even I get annoyed by streaks of dirt and mud on my sink. And wiping it down is pointless because the pot remains and therefore, so does the dirt.
It gets in the way.
Do you see the size of that thing? It’s like a small tree. And it sits on my sink. So in the place where I could set the dirty dishes that refuse to fit into the dishwasher, instead, I have a pot and plant taking up space. MY space. Sigh.
I know what you're thinking, Really, Kelsey? Why all this drama? It’s just a plant.
I feel it’s important for you to understand the real annoyance and frustration this plant causes me. I don’t like it.
I do not like it in my house.
“I do not like it,” I’ve told my spouse.
I do not like it here or there.
I do not like it anywhere.
I do not like this scorpion tree.
I do not like it don’t you see?
Get the picture?
Now here’s the next picture I want you to see. A young bride, barely old enough to drink the wedding champagne, next to her groom as they pledged to each other “for better or for worse.”
Sixteen years later, for worse means she lets a plant she hates sit on the kitchen sink for as long as her husband holds out hope that peppers will appear.
Love isn’t all about grand gestures and romantic getaways. It’s about sacrifice and compromise. It’s about putting someone else’s needs (or wants) before your own. It's about loving with a Christ-like love.
Before you get the idea that I’m some kind of superwife, understand that my husband does the same kinds of things for me. And know that we have faced bigger challenges than a garden plant becoming a house plant.
The point is that when we stand before God, committing our lives to Him and each other, we vow to love like Christ. Peter says it like this, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22). Peter used these words to encourage believers in Rome to change the way they loved others. In the prior verses, he reminds them of the love of Christ and the sacrifice made for their salvation.
It is because of Christ’s love that we can love each other sincerely, deeply, and from the heart.
Every part of my sinful self wants to haul that plant to the curb on trash day and say good riddance. But Christ in me says, Let it go, love deeply. And so the plant sits.
Friends, if you’re struggling to love someone in your life, I hope you’ll remember that you don’t have to do it from your own strength. Reach out to the One who first loved you and ask Him to fill your heart so His love can flow from it.
Lord, thank you for the way You love me—unconditionally, sacrificially, sincerely, and deeply. Father, help me love in the same way. There are times I don’t feel like loving. In those moments, Lord, I pray that Your Spirit would pour into and out of me, that I would love through Your strength not my own. Thank you for the people You have placed in my life, help me to love them sincerely, deeply, and from a heart full of You.
In Jesus’ Name,
UPDATE: Just over a week after writing this (without my husband even knowing I had penned a post all about my hatred for his plant), he without a word, lovingly picked the tiny peppers hanging from the branches and disposed of the tree. Now, if I could just convince him to do something with those peppers sitting on the window sill. 😉