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"What is that ugly, spindly, nearly green plant encroaching on the backyard flower bed?" I whined at my husband, the master gardener.
"It's a polkweed plant, or polkroot, sometimes referred to as polk salad," he answered, "take your pick."
"I pick none of the above ," I shot back, "ugly is ugly!" He rolled his eyes and advised me that young polkweed leaves can be eaten when cooked down as spinach or mustard greens. Our grandmothers sometimes used polkweed topically for acne and rashes.
"Polkweed may have its usefulness," I thought, as I gazed at the plant through the kitchen window, but that didn't change my mind about its homeliness. After the polkweed suffered much verbal abuse, the master gardener agreed to transplant it in late fall to a less conspicuous spot in the yard.
The rains came that spring and summer in abundance and we rarely attended the sloshy flower beds. We turned our attention to other projects and the flowers and plants were sorely neglected. But the polkweed remained firmly rooted. It grew taller, lankier and uglier.
One overcast day in early fall I once again glanced out the kitchen window and noticed a beautiful pink color stretching high in the garden. It was the determined polkweed showing off its stalk and leaves of various pinks and reds. "Strange but pretty," I thought, as I continued my household chores.
Several weeks later my eyes once again rested on the polkweed. The stalk proudly displayed a deep red and the leaves a loud pink.
Around Thanksgiving we ventured out to the neglected garden to rid it of collected debris and transplant the polkweed. To my wondering eyes there appeared "the unwanted." Its stalk loomed in crimson stature and its dwindling, drooping leaves were a brilliant red! How glorious it was standing midst the dull grays and shades of brown of the garden leftovers. The light wind seemed to carry its taunting whisper, "nanny nanny boo boo," as I stood amazed by its beauty!
As winter faded, spring awoke the sleeping garden and the crimson polkweed kept its home.
Like the crimson polkweed, we too should be determined to stand firmly rooted in God's promises midst the ugly and unwanted circumstances of life; waiting patiently for the change of color.
"Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later." Romans 8:18 NLT
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