Several years ago when I lived in the south, I went to a nursery to find an orange tree. I wanted to grow a lovely topiary citrus inside where I could enjoy the blooms and fruit whenever my tree chose to bless me. For several years I enjoyed the intoxicating fragrance of orange blossoms throughout the house followed by tiny oranges budding and growing to give me delicious fruits.
Last fall after the last oranges were ripened and picked, my poor orange tree was destroyed by some rowdy guest pooches and one ornery cat. Between being chewed, peed upon, and knocked over and about all the leaves fell off and the green receeded from the stems and trunk.
It seemed my tree was dead. I spoke to a botanist to see if there was anything I could do; she said that I could water it and wait to see if anything happened.
All through last winter it was watered. Nothing happened. In the spring it was watered and fertilized. Still nothing happened. When summer finally came it was moved outside and it enjoyed the summer rains and sunshine. I was convinced it was dead and was ready to tell my husband to toss it when the most miraculous thing happened.
A new stem sprouted.
In life we all come to times where what we desire seems to be dead. Our marriage hits a rough spot when one of us cheats, drinks too much, struggles with anger, or we seem to forget to continue to pursue romance and intimacy. We lose touch with friends and those who sharpen us best for no apparent reason and then we don’t give ourselves permission to look one another up when we realize what we are missing. We stop chasing our dreams. We forget to make goals or we forget to achieve them. We experience a tragedy or illness that stops us in our tracks.
We find reasons to see the dead in our circumstances rather than finding life.
We give ourselves the liberty to toss out what seems to be dead and sometimes we are right to do so. But sometimes, just maybe, what we thought of as dead was only mostly dead and if we only give it a chance might spring to life once more.
I won’t have oranges for a very long time, but I will have an orange tree that I can shape and train to be the topiary of my dreams and eventually my once mostly dead tree will bear fruit once more.