The parable of the orchids

There once was a man who had some orchids that he cherished. He placed them near a sunny window because he knew they needed light. After a while they looked a little pale, so he put a bay window in his house to give them more light.

Their condition didn’t really improve, so he built an elaborate greenhouse with automatic temperature control devices and strategically placed shade structures to shield the plants from scorching. The orchids continued to languish, so he called in a plant expert, who told him the plants were too dry.

He installed a humidifier, but the poor orchids withered and eventually died. Devastated, he related his tale of heroic effort and loss to a friend.

“Did you ever water them?” asked the friend.

“I provided the perfect amount of light and humidity,” the man replied.

“What about water?” persisted the friend.

“I carefully controlled the temperature,” the man said.

“Yes,” said his friend gently, “but did you water them?”

The man became irritated. “No, but I built them a greenhouse, for pete’s sake!” he protested.

“That’s all well and good,” answered his friend, “but all they really needed was some water.”


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