Of Plants And People

Ben H. Swett
Temple Hills, MD
May 1975

One night as I went to sleep, I was thinking about the members of a discussion group that met at our church. They all seemed to have grown spiritually during the past year, but some more than others. I fell asleep wondering what I could do to help those who were not progressing as fast as the rest.

I had a dream.

In the dream I saw a green field--like a lawn--with a planter in the middle of it. The planter was a small plot of tilled earth surrounded by a border of bricks set up on their corners. Then I saw a series of pictures above the planter, like slides flashed on a screen, of various kinds of house-plants, alternating with pictures of people's faces. It took me awhile to figure that out, but finally I said, "Okay, plants are like people ... or people are like plants."

The slide show stopped immediately. It was replaced by a film clip, like a time-lapse motion picture, of two plants growing together, side by side, in the planter. They looked like the young shoots of cannas or corn.

As I watched, the plant on the right grew much faster than the one on the left. Soon it became two, three, four, five, six times as tall as its neighbor. I thought to myself, "I wonder what's wrong with the little one ..." and as the scene continued, I became more and more concerned about that poor little plant. I thought about making sure it had enough water, and adding some fertilizer, and loosening the dirt around it. I wondered if a cutworm had eaten its roots.

Just then, both plants blossomed.

The one on the right was a sunflower ... and the one on the left was a perfectly beautiful tulip.

Later, when I remembered that I had gone to sleep thinking about the members of the discussion group, I got the message.