The Future Is Unpredictable, Yet My Houseplants Rejoice | Sojourners

The Future Is Unpredictable, Yet My Houseplants Rejoice

What my grandmother's pots of rue and aloe are teaching me during the pandemic.
Illustration by Matt Chase

MY GRANDMOTHER CAME to me in a dream. It was the first day of the COVID-19 pandemic and I knew I would not be able to visit her. My daughter had just come down with pneumonia; I did not want to put my grandmother at risk. When she came to me in my dream, through the front window, covered in a thin curtain, I could see her shadow as she walked onto my porch. As I neared the door, through the window I could see that she did not knock but instead walked over to the flowers on my porch. They were a gift from her to me. She touched each one and leaned in close as if in conversation with them. She never turned to knock on my door. I woke up.

I called my grandmother to recount the dream. She told me she had hoped I was taking care of the plants. Ruda (rue), sábila (aloe vera), and Corona de Cristo (Christ plant) adorn my front porch. I’ve since added rosemary, jade, and a few others. Care of the earth has always been imperative. In our current times, survival will depend on how we treat what God created to meet our basic needs.

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