Lost and Found iris

I once was lost

Overshared.

That’s the word I use to describe some of the losses that have occurred in the garden. Sharing plants is actually good insurance against losing a plant permanently, and I’ve experienced a few times when I’ve been asked for a piece of a plant that was previously shared with me.

But when my favorite iris dwindled down to one rhizome, I knew I had to take action. It was languishing in the shade of a peach tree, having been crowded out by stronger irises when the peach was smaller and let in more light.

A few years ago, my Yard Boy was busy digging out a whole bed of irises for Brad and Melinda, who had just purchased a new house. What a perfect time to dig out this special, fragrant iris and move it to the newly emptied space!

The next day, I looked for the small clump of roots and rhizomes at the edge of the bed. They were gone! GONE!

Brad was now out of town with his job, and the irises we had given him were stored for a while. There was no way to find out which one was the iris I meant to save for our own garden, if it even survived.

So the hunt began for a suitable replacement. Two years ago, I found it!

Someone had sent me a link to a page with photos of a strikingly beautiful garden. As I opened one, I drew in a sharp breath and held it — there was the identical flower!

Unfortunately, this garden was a two hour drive away. I sent a message to the owner, Angie, telling her about my “oversharing” mishap and explaining that I would gladly pay her for a piece of this pretty purple and white iris.

Angie graciously invited me to her stunningly magnificent garden. I now count her as a friend, a “sister-of-the-dirt” as it were.

This week, the new/old iris finally bloomed! It was a special delight to know that the journey that brought it to my garden was accompanied by not only additional new flowers, but by new friends.

When we mourn our losses, we have no idea where the road leads while we woefully trudge along its rocky and dismal course. We are so busy setting one foot in front of the other, that we don’t even take the time to look ahead.

And that’s okay.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4, NASB).

God is not unaware of what makes us tick (Psalm 103:14). He made us. He understands. While the Holy Spirit is described as a “comforter” (John 16:7, KJV), he also can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30).

Jesus was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3).

God the Father grieves over us when we leave him. As the parable of the prodigal son demonstrates, he waits and watches for our return (Luke 15).

While I had little hope of my favorite iris returning, I hoped that one like it would make its way back into my garden. It is more precious than before, because it was lost and now it is restored.

It now carries the reminder not only of the original giver, Maryanne, but now reminds me of Brad and Melinda, Angie, and even the Yard Boy husband of mine who erred on the side of generosity by accidentally giving it away.

“Redeemed” must be a little like that. We are more than what we were before our own Maker bought us back!

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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