I once knew someone who grew grass in their office.
That’s not a euphemism. I mean actual grass. In a planter. They sell them. It’s quite the thing.
I never asked about it, but a mutual friend/colleague told me that it was meant as a reminder. With apologies for my inexact memory, it was along the lines that just as grass will grow if you take good seed and provide it with good soil and light and water… people will grow if you give them what they need as well.
I am not sure why I am thinking of that today. But since I am, I’ll tell you that it seems to me, from my distant view, that a lot of his focus in trying to build that organization was around making sure he had the right people (good seed) in the right seats in the organization (good soil) and making sure people had the resources they needed (water) and a clear sense of the direction they needed to go (light) for them and the company to be successful. I don’t know that he was always right in his assessments, or that he was always liked, but as a whole people respected the heck out of him as a leader.
And I’m thinking – and again, I’m not sure why – that from what very little I know of that person, the apparent “meaning” of that container of grass makes perfect sense… and I’m realizing how different the meanings I would naturally take away from it are.
For instance, the first three things that would come to mind for me (beyond the initial surprise) to assign meaning to a planter full of grass, would be…
The seemingly ordinary can be extraordinary, if we take time to really see it. We barely notice the grass by the side of the road, but set it apart, care for it, and it suddenly has more meaning and beauty.
We should do what we can to allow and support growth, but the growth itself is not in our power or control. In 1 Corinthians 3:6, Paul writes, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.”
Some things must happen – or not happen – in their own time. You can’t make the grass grow faster, just by wanting it to. If you try, you’ll be frustrated… and maybe even cause harm.
Of course, my meanings would have to be different from his. And not just because – from what I can tell – we tended to look at the world differently as a whole … it often seemed that even the same conclusions on a subject would be arrived at from different directions.
Not, it’s simpler than that.
For me, giving good seed all the things it needs doesn’t necessarily mean growth will follow. I have a black thumb. If I had grass on my desk, it would have to be made of silk. 😉