Lenten Devotion 3/16/2022

Devotion 15
Wednesday March 16

Many, many years ago, I bought a plant at a sale at the St. Petersburg Garden Club. The label on the plant said ‘milkweed.’ That is what I wanted to add to a patch in our yard where there were butterfly plants. So, in went the plant. It was a small plant. Maybe 6-8 inches high. We eagerly awaited the milkweed and the butterflies it would attract.

Time went on. The plant grew. No flowers appeared. Years went on. And the plant continued to grow. Up over the roof of the lanai. Over the roof of the house. Up and up it went. Narry a flower or seed pod or butterfly. We had someone come to do some tree work for us and they told us it was a camphor tree. And sure enough, when you broke off a branch there was a wonderful aroma of camphor.

The tree grew and grew. It was right near the pool, and the lanai support, and the roof, and was blocking the path around the pool. We clipped and clipped, but we could not keep up with this prolifically growing tree. So, sadly, we finally decided to remove it. Wrong plant in the wrong place. So much for it being milkweed.

We took the tree out over three years ago. The stump was even dug out to prevent any re-growth. Last week my husband, Jeff, and I were in the backyard and we commented on the former tree. Remember that big tree we took down? Remember the wonderful fragrance? Remember how Jeff even dug out the whole stump?

Today as I was skimming the pool, I noticed something. A new plant amidst the Mexican heather and gingers. A little bushy thing with shiny leaves about 6-8 inches high. Yup. Camphor. After all of this time. After all of our efforts to take it out. It is coming back. Persistence. Patience. Dormancy. Regrowth. So many messages here about the wildness of grace! God doesn’t give up on us. Sometimes things don’t happen when we want them to, but that doesn’t mean they won’t happen ever. Sometimes we work and work at a problem and think we have resolved it and then it rears up – again. More work to do.

As for our camphor seedling, maybe we will transplant it.

May we have a sensitivity to the persistence and patience of the ways of Divine Love. May we sustain our hope. And may we, too, have persistence and patience with ourselves and with the world — never giving up on the wildness of grace. Amen.

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