Abigail tugged the small clump of baby green plants out of the plastic container. Dirt fell from their tiny lace-like roots onto the top of the table where Kerry swiped at it with a chubby little hand, brushing it onto to the floor.
“Stick it in grandma,” he grabbed a pot and held it proudly up in the air, directly under the dirt dripping roots.
“Wait a second Kerry.” She smiled down at the little guy, his blonde hair flattened in a sweaty line by a just tossed baseball cap. His face smeared with dirt from a process he’d only just stepped into on the way home from school.
“For what,” big eyes watched Abigail carefully as she took her hand, extra big now with the garden glove neatly tucked around it, and pulled at the fragile lacey roots, ripping them away from the bottom of the plant before tucking them into the fresh earth. The tearing sound continued, like soft material under the hand of an experienced seamstress.
Kerry’s eyes grew bigger. “What are doing that for?”
“I have to,” she said, matter of factly. “If I don’t, well, the plant doesn’t grow as well, if at all.”
“But it’s in the dirt grandma. All it needs is dirt to grow, and a little bit of water.”
“That’s right Kerry,” she patted the little blonde head, bits of the black soil falling into his hair. “But in order for the roots to grow, well, they have to be loosened, and that means pulling them away from themselves I guess.”
“Don’t make sense to me grandma,” Kerry grabbed his baseball cap, and headed toward the door. Dirt’s dirt, and water’s water, and roots are roots. With that, the young boy headed toward home, walking down the sidewalk kicking at stones in his way.
The next time Kerry saw the plants, they were full and green, with thick pink blossoms bending over the sides of the pots.
“Hey grandma,” he said, slamming the screen door behind him. “These look good. Guess ripping the roots works, huh?”
Abigail smiled and nodded.
Ripping the roots is a gardeners’ tool that God may use to get a fuller, richer bloom out of us as well. Each challenging situation we find ourselves in becomes a new pot, and in order to get maximum growth, God may have to tear away at the familiar, even the familiar with Him, in order to transplant us into a fuller, richer experience with Him.
Instead of growing back in toward who we already are, the challenge is to allow the Gardner to do His work.
While root ripping at the time may be painful, or a tad uncomfortable at best, its’ purpose is clear. Everything we do, and everything we face, is there to draw us closer to Him, and to ultimately bring the blessing that always follows.
I pray that if I ever find myself in a situation of root ripping, that I will allow the Gardener to do His work, and then patiently wait for the blessing.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all...” 2 Cor. 4:17 (NIV)
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