We live in a world full of lost causes. At least, that is what we tend to believe. But what if some “lost” causes are only one ingredient short of a miracle? What if, with a little hope and a lot of faith, dead things really would grow?
When I was a child we had an umbrella tree in our living room. Every week it was my chore to water it, to ensure that it would flourish and grow. One day, the front door was not closed properly and it blew open in the night. It was winter, the night was bitter cold and the poor umbrella tree, meant for a more temperate climate, did not fair well. All its leaves turned black and fell off until only the stem and bare branches remained.
My mother declared the plant dead. But in my little heart I couldn’t bear to give up on the poor thing. I begged my mom not to throw it out, to give it one more chance. I was certain that if I just kept watering it, it would grow again.
Now, my mother could have told me not to be silly, the plant was dead and needed to be replaced. She didn’t. Listening to the great wisdom of her tender heart, she let the dead plant stay where it was and allowed me to continue watering it. I watered it for what seemed a very long time and there it sat, a sad stick in a big pot. I’m sure my mother wondered how long it would take for me to give up on it. Then, one day, a miracle occurred. A tiny green shoot poked its nose up through the dirt. The plant was growing once again, coming up from its root. We cut the dead branches away and that little shoot grew into a huge, healthy plant that thrived for many years.
That plant taught me the power and beauty of hope. While things we hope for don’t always come to pass the way we envision them, the simple act of exercising hope brings a miracle all its own. Where there is hope, there is no room for despair. Where hope lives, joy flourishes. And even if things don’t turn out the way we hoped, hope brings peace to our hearts and we know that everything will be okay.
I’ve seen this lesson repeated many times in my life and in many ways from plants, to projects, to people. I can say with absolute certainty that, with a little hope, even dead things can grow.
Don’t give up.