Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Plant in the Office

I'm not really the type of person that notices dead plants. They just aren't in my radar. That's why, when a coworker commented on the very sad looking plant in the corner of the front office at school, I simply acknowledged her noticings and went about my business.

An hour or so passed and another co-worker came by the desk and commented on the wilty-ness of the same plant. At that point I found it a little bit odd that I don't notice plants that are not doing their best. I, again, acknowledged my co-worker's noticings and again went about my business.

A third co-worker passed by and said, "That plant really needs to be watered. It looks very sad." I answered, "People keep coming by and saying that."

In that moment my scientific mind took over and I formulated a hypothesis and a theory...or at least a carefully-planned-out, secret, blind study that no one but me would know about. How many people would walk by that plant, comment on it, yet not do anything about it?

So far three different people had commented, yet not watered.

(Let's put aside, for the moment, the fact that I did nothing. I imagine people assume that because the plant is in my "jurisdiction", I have the care-giving responsibilities for it and they probably simply don't want to interfere in my jurisdiction. Aside from that potential reasoning, it's interesting to me that people do much "talking" but not so much "doing.")

I left work for the day. When I returned the next day, I found that the plant had miraculously been rejuvenated. The leaves were shiny and perky. Ugh! My experiment was over too soon. I barely got to do any data research and spread sheet calculations.

At lunch time, Vinnie walked in, went to the plant and said, "Ahhh. She looks much better than she did yesterday. Her leaves were all wilting and now they're perking up." Vinnie is a man who belongs to our parish and comes in each day to volunteer to serve the little kiddies hot lunch. He does it out of the kindness of his heart. He does not get paid, he is there each day - rain or shine, and he is one of those unsung heroes of our school that, like the plant, often goes unnoticed.

How fitting that he is the one who, more than likely, found a common ground with the plant and gave it the water it was thirsting for. How fitting that this man, this volunteer, took matters into his own hands and DID something about it, instead of just commenting on it.

Today, I challenge myself and you, to "do" something - don't plan it, don't get a committee together, don't talk to others about it, just "do" it because it needs to be done. Isn't that the kind of people we want to be?