When we bought our house, two rose bushes flanked the koi pond. They were not dramatic, prize-winning roses, but their miniature blossoms were pretty and cheerful. They had been planted in decent soil, and they thrived there.
A few years later, it became necessary to refurbish the pond. The rose bushes were in the way. We did not want to lose them, but weren’t sure where their final locations would be. So my husband and a helper dug up the bushes, put them in two big plant pots, and moved them to other parts of the yard.
The yellow rose bush took the transition fairly well. I watered it, and it stayed green and began to bloom. I watered the pink rose bush, too, but it did not respond. Within a couple of days, all its leaves and buds had turned brown and fallen off. My husband thought his helper must have cut off most of the roots in the transplanting process. It couldn’t absorb the water we gave it. I sort of gave up on the pink rose bush.
A few weeks later, I happened to glance in the direction of the poor pink rose bush. To my surprise, it was covered in green leaves and pink blossoms. It had gathered its strength, extended its roots, and put forth new growth. It had a hard time, but it bloomed where it was transplanted.
How many of us get to stay where we are planted, physically, socially, or spiritually? Our ward includes many military families. We watch them come and go, moving every two or three years. Some of these members seem to take the opportunity to fade from view and get lost. Others cheerfully step into their new ward, accept callings, nurture others who share their transitory situation, and inject fresh energy into the more stationary population of the ward. They bloom where they have been transplanted.
Perhaps more difficult than moving from place to place is being left behind. At our house, work continued in the barren hole where the pond used to be. One day I was surprised to see something green in the corner by the foundation. A tiny yellow rose was blooming, two feet below the previous ground level. One of the deep roots that had been severed had felt the light and remembered its true rose nature. It grew and blossomed, even in this difficult situation.
Some of the sisters in our ward have been left behind for a year or more at a time as their husbands have filled dangerous assignments in far-away places. They have struggled with parenting, church callings, taking care of the home, all the normal things we do, with limited access to their husbands’ support. I think that would be too difficult for me. But these sisters have extended their roots into the truths of the gospel, gathered strength from neighbors and ward members, and bloomed beautifully.
Some of us get left behind more permanently. My father-in-law was first planted in a pretty poor spot of ground. Perhaps it was his difficult childhood that helped him recognize the peace Christ offers. He planted himself firmly in the gospel, and with a good woman at his side, he has flourished. Now he is preparing for his wife to return to her Maker. He has been nourishing her a long time. It will be a difficult transition. He will have to decide where to plant himself next. But as long as his roots grasp the rock of our Redeemer, I am sure he can weather the changes and bloom again.
And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst. (Alma 32:42)
Teresa G. Osgood is putting down roots in her Pacific Northwest garden. When she’s not weeding, she writes poems and short stories at T’s Subplot.
Photo by author