Signs of life and love

four shelves of plants, candles, photos, and cards

In January, I started a part-time job as interim executive director of a local restorative justice agency. The hiring committee assured me that the interim work was just that–interim while they completed a longer-term hire, not clean-up. The place had great staff, stable finances, and a healthy workplace culture. I said yes and soon found the work and the workplace to be even more enjoyable than the hiring committee had described.

Then COVID hit and my job duties changed suddenly. I’d planned on keeping the ship afloat and heading in the right direction, plus maybe getting to do some glad-handing at fundraisers. Instead, we had to figure out how to do our work in an entirely new way.  But the staff, resilient and open to learning new things, rose to the challenge. Still, I was left with one nearly-impossible task: keeping the office plants alive.

When our doors closed to the public, someone had to take them home, and as the closest employee who had enough space for them, it was me.

I have many skills, but care of plants (indoors or out) has never been one. It wasn’t why I was hired, and had it been a question during the interview, I would have had to sadly tell the committee to hire someone else.

But here I was, and here they are–six months later, alive!


Truly, every day that they survive is a miracle!

Here are some other things that are giving us encouragement these days.


Above, cards received by my middle child from friends far and wide to celebrate middle school graduation. Two are handmade and another is a painting by the sender’s mother-in-law, a Sri Lankan artist whose work hangs in the UN. Every one is a reminder of how loved and supported our family is.

Now that the weather isn’t unbearably hot, our plants have moved outside, where they get to enjoy the view of prayer flags made by my friend M.

My time with the nonprofit is over and the original plants returned to the office, but during their sojourn at my house they grew so much it was time to split some of them. Those that remain behind are a lovely, living reminder of my time with the agency and our hard work together to keep a good thing going despite the challenges of 2020.



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