Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Bitter and Sweet (05/28/09)
TITLE: Hearts In The Garden
By Dolores Stohler
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Both of these garden varieties are a healthy source of Vitamin C and, because the radish grows underground, it is rich in minerals like iron and iodine as well. Want to lose weight? Well, the radish will help you because it contains absolutely no calories at all. Forget their bitter taste and add them to your salad. They’re worth it!
Strawberries have a romantic link. It was once believed that if you break a double strawberry in half and give it to someone of the opposite sex, the two of you will fall in love. Ah, sweet romance! Why not? After all, they’re a member of the rose family and give off a lovely fragrance.
Historically, this little heart-shaped fruit has been a symbol of passion, purity and healing. But I’m a strawberry grower and well aware that if the fruit isn’t eaten but left to rot in the garden, it will grow bitter and foul to the taste. Even the birds won’t touch it!
I think the human heart bears a strong resemblance to the strawberry. An infant is born sweet and innocent. It coos and laughs when you play with it. Innocence and a tendency to love and trust are part of the baby‘s charm. Bad experiences, however, will turn that tiny heart to sadness. And, if abuse is present, a bitter root may begin to form deep within the human heart. With the loss of innocence comes the loss of a connection to God, as well. It’s hard to believe in a loving God when most of your life experiences are cruel.
Our human hearts have the capacity to be like either the radish or the strawberry. Nourish them with love and kindness and compassion will be the fruit of the spirit. But let a hurt or an anger fester and grow and the roots will reach out like tentacles, entrapping us in a snare of ungodly resentment. Something I’ve learned through my own experience is to open my heart to be searched by God. I want to be aware of any unforgiving thoughts or prejudices that are poisoning my soul. Like King David, I’ve learned to say, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV)
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