Several years ago I was given a plant arrangement, one of those that is beautiful but combines plants that have different temperaments and needs. Eventually I replanted what was still alive and kept three of the plants together, a spider plant, a palm and a fern. Understand, they are in a big pot, and they have grown about 30" above the rim. Here's the thing, the spider plant has been blooming for most of the past two years. And for longer than that it has been sending out babies. It is so prolific that I have no less that three other good sized plants around the house, one of which is in the picture, which are also blooming and having babies, and I've given away about a dozen more. I should also tell you that they all look funny - they aren't "normal" looking spider plants... and I've pulled up all the runners they send out into a plant stake so all the new plants are held high rather than drooping down low.
A friend told me that the reason they are sending out babies is that they are or were root bound at one point.
So driving down the road this weekend, with all the above running through my head, I asked Chris if we'd missed out on spiritual growth by not being in an environment that shared all the same values. His answer surprised me.
He outlined the book In Conquest Born by C.S. Friedman. Short summary: people with physic talents are raised in a caring nurturing environment. The lead character enters the military where she is forced to go beyond the training that was considered the limit back at the training center. She returns to the training center, demands her way and walks through the mental barriers the head of the center erects. At that point she explains to him that for her very survival, she has gone beyond the self-defined limits that the center teaches. With that example, Chris points out that we've been forced to learn and grow in ways that wouldn't have been possible in a "nurturing" environment. And that brought me back to the spider plants. I realized that they are an example as well as a mirror for us; their environment, current/real or past/perceived, has caused them to go into reproduction and flowering mode.
While I can't see our lives as clearly as when I look at the plants, I hope we have been as busy as they have.