On my first day back from study/vacation leave, I read email, I checked in with various people at TUS, made a few phone calls, and then I did a very important thing: I repotted the jade plant in my office.
The jade plant is large — on its way to enormous. I’ve had it for a long time. It sat on the front passenger seat when I drove to NJ from Western Massachusetts two years ago, when I moved here to accept the call to serve this congregation. It’s wild in the way that jade plants can get, twisting branches that make it just a bit magical. I had noticed that it wasn’t thriving: the soil had become compacted and it was likely root-bound. So it was time for a new home.
A few days later, with the pot freed from the jade plant, I repotted the Christmas cactus that sits up high on a shelf in our kitchen. It didn’t blossom this year, so I figured it, too, needed a larger home. This plant has a name: “Grandchild of Old Ugly.”
My mother gave me the start from a plant that she called “Old Ugly” but which was really “Son of Old Ugly” because hers had been started from a plant her mother had that she had been given by her mother. While I can trace my Christmas cactus back to my great grandmother, I wouldn’t be surprised if the connection goes back even further. In fact, the jade plant, too, was started from an older plant that has a lineage in my family, too, though it does not have name.
Connection – whether to our family of origin or family of choice (both if we’re so blessed) or to a greater sense of purpose – is an important part of feeling whole and grounded, an necessary ingredient in growing resilience in an individual, group or community.
Sometimes a sense of connection comes easily and without effort. In my experience, I’ve found that unless we cultivate them, connections can wither.
I have just begun my third year of shared ministry with you all here at The Unitarian Society. While I have served two churches before (my internship church, and a small rural one as an unordained minister) for two years each, this is my first time of continuing to develop relationships beyond that short time period. I am so excited to move into this first-ever in my life and to do it with you all.
There is wisdom among ministers that there are cycles/seasons in the relationship between a minister and the congregation. The first year (season) has a honeymoon quality to it. The second year has a “wait!?! I married you? But you’re not perfect” quality to it. The third year? well, that’s the cool thing: we’re about to find out!
I’m really glad to be rooted here with you,
P.S. Come by the office to take a look at the jade plant – it’s in the back corner near the window. Maybe we should have a naming contest?