Garden of People

Thursday, May 29

5-29By Lu Mountenay of Independence, Missouri, USA

Understand that the road to transformation travels both inward and outward. The road to transformation is the path of the disciple.

—Doctrine and Covenants 161:3d

A potted plant’s roots follow the perimeter of its pot. When plants start to lose vigor, a quick investigation reveals the problem. If you lift the plant to expose the roots and you see circles of roots going round and round, it doesn’t take much guesswork. The plant is root-bound.

The roots have turned in on themselves and are choked by the confines of the pot. They’ve absorbed all the energy and nutrition the spent soil has to offer. Their inward journey is complete in this space, and it’s time to guide the roots in a new direction. So we provide a larger pot or even let the plant go free into the great outdoors of our garden.

To repot the plant, we put fresh soil in the new, larger pot. We manipulate the roots to change their direction to an outward path toward the fresh, expanded soil. If the root ball is dense enough, we may even cut off the bottom inch of rooted soil for a healthy “letting go” of offending roots. If you practice “talking” to your plants, you might say, “It’s for your own good, dear,” or “This hurts me more than it hurts you.”

We water the plant and say a prayer to make it (and us) feel better. We might change its location to a sunnier window. We stand back and watch it thrive, spreading joy and foliage, and being happy to live in the home of a good gardener. You also might put a doily under the plant—that helps a lot!

Seriously…we, like plants, sometimes get too comfortable on our paths. We become root bound on our inward journey. Once we get to a still and centered place, we can gather strength and do some letting go, starting an outward journey on Christ’s mission. A new direction opens, and we create room to grow. We stimulate our roots with learning and spiritual practices and then find a new place at the expanding table of grace.

Rerooted in our foundation, soaking up the light of the Holy Spirit, and refreshed with Christ’s living water, we flourish and develop into disciples to serve the community, God’s garden of people.

Prayer for Peace Master Gardener, help us open to change and growth. Give us discomfort when the status quo satisfies us, and we begin to lose vigor. We would make Christ’s mission our mission. We would share his peace with the gardens of the world.

Spiritual Practice: Develop Disciples to Serve As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to respond to people and their needs. Pray about using your skills to help another person. As you feel affirmed, thank God for the opportunity to be a responding, serving disciple while you move into the outward journey.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will grow in a new direction.

Leave a comment


  1. marcia plumb

     /  29 May 2014

    Lu, this is filled with wonderful symbolism that I could wrap my arms around.  It will be remembered as I work in my garden.  I may even find some considerations around “drought” and I’ll share them if/when I develop them. (Life in California right now) Thank you for sharing your observations and, once again, inspire me toward further transformation.   Blessings and Peace! Marcia    

  2. Gladys Geis

     /  29 May 2014

    Thanks you for your good thoughts.

  3. Dick Hahn

     /  29 May 2014

    Very good analogy, Lu. I know nothing about plants and/or planting. However, we all know people, even very faithful church members (ourselves included), who seem to have stopped growing spiritually since childhood/adolescence. The only way to help them/us is to draw us all into new and fresh worship, education, and missional experiences. We’re on that track as a church, so maybe in a decade, we’ll be reinvigorated, – all of us. Hope so!


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