Finding Rest in the City

What I Learned from My Neglected Jade Plant

Call it boredom, call it a yearning for nature, call it a slowing down of life, but during this extra time at home during the pandemic, I’ve found myself gazing at my plants a little longer than usual. As I found myself lingering longer at a particular plant that sits in my kitchen windowsill, I realized that I could barely recognize what it originally was. So much, that I sent a picture of it to a friend to confirm if it was actually a jade, as it has strayed so far from its original, upright shape. My friend, passed my question along to someone with more plant knowledge than us and she replied, “That looks like a jade that spent a lot of time without quite enough of something (water, sun) to keep a typical bush shape. That, or the thing was on a tall shelf and it hung down to reach the sun. It seems like an old and fairly happy plant though.”

She was absolutely right. This plant had moved from one of our only south facing windows during our renovation to the mantle of our fireplace. With the chaos of three small kids, two dogs, and a MASSIVE home renovation taking place on the other side of our plywood temp kitchen wall, it’s entirely likely this plant was neglected. 

Neglecting plants during home renovation
See the poor little jade plant shoved in the corner? No light reaches that.

When our new kitchen was starting to take shape, I moved this plant back to it’s original south-facing window. By then, just touching the plant would make leaves or entire stems fall off. I carefully repotted the plant to give it fresh soil and bought a water meter to learn how to water it properly. And over time, I’ve noticed it begin to transform itself. The base of the plant is beginning to fill in and the bare areas are starting to fill with new shoots. When I move the plant or touch it, it’s no longer fragile. It feels strong and healthy. While the scars of neglect are still there, I am coming to find it rather uniquely beautiful.

As I pondered over my plant, I realized how much I see my own life in this jade’s journey. I have gone through seasons where I’ve neglected my own mental, emotional, and physical health. There have been stressful conditions like renovations, having a baby in the middle of a pandemic, shutting down half of our business, homeschooling when we’re home ALL. THE. TIME. There have been things we’ve been through collectively, like protests, riots, elections, natural disasters, and COVID-19. Yet, we’ve all been left with a choice:

Have we put our lives back on the sunny windowsill and watered it, or have we continued to leave it on the mantle of neglect?

Jen Wilder
What I learned from neglecting my Jade plant
My jade becoming a happy little plant, again.

As my jade has started to get healthier, I’ve noticed the shoots bending at crazy angles to try to reach the light. It’s interesting that God created plants the same way he created us — that we flourish when we’re in the light. In darkness, we will not grow. With proper watering and attention to our emotional, physical, and spiritual needs, we get stronger. And while our scars from stress and struggles may still be visible, they become a part of our story that speaks to others and forms us into the beautifully unique people God created us to be. I’m grateful for the life lessons this crazy little plant has taught me and it’s beauty that graces our windowsill.

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Nice to meet you!

I’m a homeschooling mom of four and recovering perfectionist on a journey to live a more restful life.

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