The Hand-Me-Down Aloe Plant

Published on Fri, 03/31/2017 - 8:00am

Right now, I’m caring for an aloe plant. A hand-me-down aloe plant, in fact. My aunt, on a recent visit, saw the plant on a “free” table at a yard sale and couldn’t resist it. So she took the aloe plant home to her summer house, and when she went back to Florida for the winter, she gave it to me.

So now I am the caretaker of an aloe plant, which is interesting because I've never really thought much about aloe plants before. What do you do with an aloe plant? But now that I have one, the surprising thing is—I like it. The poor little plant—all but abandoned by two families in a row—now has a home.

In fact, if I'm truly honest with myself, I love my resilient little aloe plant. And that reminds me of something that an elderly friend told me when I was about ten years old. She said: “You love people, but you like things.”

At the time, the idea seemed altruistic and idealistic, and I thought it made excellent sense. You could divide everything up that way. Obviously people were at the top. You loved God and you loved your family and friends and you liked cheesecake and daffodils and everything in life could be divided up like that. It was a straightforward way to look at things.

But this division doesn't seem quite so clear-cut or accurate anymore, because—here in real life—I love people, but I love things, too. I love lots of things. I love sunshine and laughing and old books and cupcakes and potatoes and new pencils and wrapping paper and ponies and puppies and patchwork quilts and overalls and bird's nests. And now—a hand-me-down aloe plant.

You can find some of the greatest blessings when you're doing things you never expected to do. Or loving things you never expected to love.