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The Road Back Home


Uproot. There is a time for digging up. For turning the soil.

A love lost.

Health unhinged.

Wealth ripped away.

Just like biting into the saliva-sucking membrane of an otherwise delectable pecan nut, we have tasted the bitter along with the sweet. We have nursed satisfaction just a moment too long.

What was once is no more.

The garden teaches us that all good things must come to an end. So we strive, not to stop the change, but to embrace this bittersweet truth: We must leave home to know it was home.

I thought of this last week as I went out in search of “Bittersweet” to add to some autumn arrangements. I said a little prayer and headed out on my bicycle - keeping an eye out for the telltale orangeish berries of this woody vine. While it can be grown in the garden, my success has been finding this climber along the wood line.

Like the name suggests, the Bittersweet vine is loved for the small yellow flower that bursts open in late fall to reveal bright red berries, yet loathed for its invasive and destructive habits. Native to Eastern Asia, the vine reportedly came to the Eastern United States in the late 18th Century and has become so pervasive that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has listed it as a national invasive species. *

While I enjoyed another warm November day, my trip didn’t turn up any Bittersweet. I did, however, find a nice cache of Osage Oranges –the strange, bumpy lime green fruit of the Osage Tree – and loaded some of them in my backpack. A little disappointed, I headed back home. Besides, I have clematis and honeysuckle in the yard I could use to achieve the same affect in the floral design.

As I went out to the back fence to cut some, my eye caught the hint of some bright berries. On closer examination (it’s pretty overgrown back there), I discovered right there on my back fence a Bittersweet vine!

Right. There. It was never there before. Something cracked open inside me. Sometimes the way our Heavenly Father answers our prayers makes me want to cry.

It’s not always yes.

It’s not always sweet.

Yet there are those moments when all the bitterness, all the disappointment we experience, melts away.

When I think of the complexity of events it took to bring that Bittersweet seed to fruition right along with perfect timing of my desire for it, I am absolutely floored.

Sometimes we have to leave home, to find it was home, so that we can return back home.

*there is an American Bittersweet, Celastrus scandens. The fruit of all Bittersweet is good for wildlife but poisonous to humans. Keep away from small kids and pets.

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