As I was out shopping garage sales with my family many years ago, we saw a table with aloe plants in various re-used food containers. A sign declared they were free to take. I decided that would be a wonderful addition to my small collection of houseplants that managed to survive. I was starting to feel more confident as there were actually a few I hadn’t killed! I took the small plant home and planted it in an equally small pot I found.
The aloe plant sat on my kitchen windowsill for a time, and grew, apparently thriving with inattention and intermittent watering. When we moved to a new state, twice, it moved with us. Life was busy. I honestly didn’t pay too much attention to my plants other than to be glad they were still living and water them when leaves started drooping. When our family decided to move again, I realized that my little aloe plant was not so little any more. It had grown quite a bit and had filled the small pot with several offsets. I decided that dividing the aloe plant would have to be near the top of the to-do list once we were settled in our new home.
One day, after we had been in the new home for a few months, I realized that the aloe plant was at a critical point. It toppled when moved away from support because it was so top heavy. Watering was difficult because it was nearly impossible to find a place to fit the spout of the watering can between the leaves. I called my sister for help. I didn’t feel confident in my ability to handle the dividing on my own, and she is a plant master. She came over and showed me how to divide the plant. She made it look so easy that I was a little ashamed that I had needed help, but I decided that it was good that she had come because it actually got done this way! There I was with a big aloe plant in a big pot, and about ten other plants of varying sizes in disposable cups and re-used garden plant pots. I sent my sister home with a few. I took some to close friends. And others ended up staying near my kitchen window.
Not many months later, I found myself realizing that I had need of some gifts to give. As I pondered what I would give, I observed that there were plenty of healthy new little aloe plants waiting to be divided. I didn’t have pots to put them in, but when I mentioned my idea to a friend I was visiting, she said that she had pots she had used but no longer needed, and I could have them. I took those pots home and painted them. Then, I was brave and divided aloe offsets out to fill them, all on my own. I am sure my sister would have come to help me again, but I felt proud of myself for doing it without help.
This entire process brought these thoughts: That mother aloe plant had grown for years in that small pot. The original plant had stretched its leaves, and the offsets grew as much as they could, but eventually, there wasn’t room for more growth. When the plants were divided and given more room, each new plant immediately started to grow and create new offsets. I hadn’t had the knowledge about how to divide the plants, but my sister willingly shared that with me. I was able to share those plants with several other people. Then when I had the knowledge of how to divide, I hadn’t had the pots to put new plants in, but my friend willingly gave those to me. Because of those gifts from my sister and my friend, I was able to create gifts for others. This is the value of sharing. This is abundance.
Utilizing and sharing talents and knowledge, giving from what we have, recognizing that we can operate in an attitude of gratitude instead of scarcity, that is abundant living. And the more we recognize the value of what we do have, what we can do, and how we can help lift those around us, the more fulfilled we will feel.
Written by Lisa Bjornberg