Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Root Rot - Or A Better Story ?
"...the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show." ~Andrew Wyeth
There it was, sitting on a small wooden stem, underneath all the dead foliage from last season's flowering. A new bud, and it is only January.
Slowly, methodically, I pulled away more and more brown and brittle dead "stuff" and as I did I saw more and more little reddish buds perched on their stems. They had color and life, even amidst all that cold, stiff, brown, vegetation. They were simply awaiting their time to bloom.
My newly transplanted planted peonies, which were three to four feet tall by summer's end, with massive greenery and blossoms as big as dinner plates, had by mid-winter shrunk to puny looking brown sticks of about half their former height. If you were to glance at them, you might reasonably conclude they were dead.
However, they are not dead (lifeless, finished, hopeless) but rather they are currently dormant (latent, invisible, yet to be manifested).
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I'll be honest with you, I mostly hate winter. I don't like being cold. I dislike trekking about doing errands in the frigid rain. My arthritis flares up and my spirits spiral down.
Last fall we planted tons of new shrubs and plants that looked wonderful and truly added to the natural beauty of our little half-acre. And then came winter. Nearly everything has shriveled up, wilted down, and gone to sleep. They are not dead - just dormant.
But oh, do they look dreary.
You can imagine, then, my excitement yesterday when I went out to do a little mid-winter tending to the peony plants. According to my gardening book peonies should not be cut back until all foliage has died off and the first frost of the winter is past. Then, and only then, do you cut them back, and put mulch around their base. Otherwise, you can get root rot and fungus!
When I discovered bud after bud, colorful and full of promise, I was just as pleased as a proud parent when her offspring has done well, even in dreary circumstances.
As I headed back into the house, after stowing my tools, and gloves; I suddenly wondered whether the Father might be just as pleased when I show some promise of renewed commitment and contribution.
Perhaps you have been dormant lately, cold and lifeless; and perhaps there is yet coming a time of fruitfulness.
How I want to avoid spiritual "root rot" - stay away from the nasty fungus of the soul that tempts me to think there is little point to any effort of mine.
I was so pleased with those little red buds yesterday that I smiled for a long time, and thought a lot about how beautiful they will be in the coming months. All that promise just waiting to unfold.
Does God wait for me to develop a small bud of patience, a little shoot of faith? Is He so glad when He sees them that He smiles upon my life when I allow His timing to begin to manifest itself in fruitfulness?
Those buds cannot know how happy they made me yesterday. They cannot perceive how often I smiled as I considered the pleasure they will soon bring.
Even so, in my ignorance and earthly blindness, I cannot know how often God looks upon my life, even in times of winter barrenness, and smiles as he sees a small new bud of faith and fruitfulness begin to take shape.
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Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9 NIV)
So friends, let's be on the lookout for root rot and fungus - as we look toward the fruitfulness of spring. The whole story is not yet told. Until next time ...Marsha