Orchids, Ivy, and Heaven

The Orchid (and the Ivy). 

What Makes Paradise So Special? 

“Who brought the orchid?” I asked my husband, Rich, when I returned home from work on my birthday several weeks ago. I hardly needed to ask him.

“Sue,” he said, confirming my hunch. On a street filled with amazing neighbors, our next-door neighbor Sue stands out. And she always remembers my birthday–often with a potted plant. This year she’d delivered a lovely Phalaenopsis orchid planted together with ivy in a lovely purple pot. The overall effect was architectural and stunning.

I was thrilled when my orchid budded, then opened a new flower this past week. I’m not a houseplant ninja, and orchids have a reputation. I’ve been diligently avoiding overwatering, as my reading on their care suggests that orchids despise being too wet.

Unfortunately, ivy needs a bit more water than orchids do. In my zeal to care for the exotic orchid, I’d sacrificed the mundane ivy. Its leaves turned dry and crispy and left their vine with the slightest tug. Even under these trying conditions, though, the ivy has unfurled a few new leaves, struggling to hang on to life.

Brave New Leaves on the Ivy.

Life’s full of compromises, isn’t it? To provide optimal care for my orchid, the ivy is left to struggle. I favor the orchid and leave the ivy to scrape by.

The orchid is an easy choice, compared to decisions staring others down, like “Do I pay the rent or feed the kids?” 

But see, heaven is perfect. I know I can’t imagine the glorious state of heaven. I can’t wrap my brain around moving into a home that my heavenly Father prepared for me. I can’t imagine being in the presence of my King and my Savior. Perfect means a lot of things. But one thing it means is not having to choose between the orchid and the ivy. Or having to choose between paying the rent and feeding one’s children.

There is no rent collector in heaven.

And for me, that’s what makes paradise so special: no either/or. It’s all both/and. How about you? What do you most anticipate about eternal life?

22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.
Revelation 21: 22-26 (NIV)