Uprooted. Alone. Out of your element. That’s the feeling you have when you lose a loved one, especially a parent.

We all crave connection, whether it is with family, friends, or even coworkers and neighbors with whom we only nod and smile when we pass by. When an important connection is severed, the feelings of loss can be overwhelming.

When our magnificent hedge of roses was stricken with the dreaded Rose Rosette Disease, we knew there was no known cure. Extreme measures were taken to save the first plant that exhibited the symptoms.

A bucket of bleach was placed on the walkway, and the pruning shears were used to carefully trim out the affected canes. Between each cut, the shears were dipped in the sterilizing liquid so as not to contaminate the canes that may not have had the disease. Any branches, sprigs, and canes that looked the least bit suspicious were taken out in a similar fashion, including those on any of the neighboring seven bushes.

All the effort was in vain.

Eventually seven out of the eight rose bushes, now taller than either of us, were showing signs of this incurable disease. The whole line of the double red Knockout roses had to be taken out, roots and all, since the disease is spread throughout the plant by the mites that feed on any part. There were still several healthy roses scattered around the yard that we wanted to protect, plus any in the immediate neighborhood.

Two months later, a slender sprig of a stem, complete with a blooming rose, appeared near the site of the now departed rose hedge. Thinking that it must have been part of a stray root that didn’t come up, my Yard Boy husband dug it up.

To our surprise, it was a perfectly formed, tiny rose bush, complete with its own miniature root system.

The next time we found a seedling, we didn’t assume it was infected. It is doing quite nicely about four feet away from the place where the parent plants had graced the garden with thousands of lovely red blooms over the years.

Those of us who have lost loved ones who could not be saved can find comfort in the knowledge that there is always some good that God provides from their lives.

Like the little rose seedling, there is something beautiful and pure left behind by those who have brought joy and love to others in their lifetimes. God is love (1 John 4:8). Those who have loved and are loved have spread some of God’s gift of love around them, whether or not they know God or obey his commands.

We can take that gift and show forth its beauty in our own lives. Like the little rose seedlings, we can take the good and the beautiful and pass it on to others. The uprooted feeling doesn’t have to last, as long as we know our purpose.

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8, NASB)

So, we honor our own roots even as we cover them with soil, and go on living and serving the living God.

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