Story of a Radish…
Born of a single seed, the very first act of development upon bursting to life is to set down a root.
This root establishes itself firmly into the ground and becomes the absolute lifeline by which the unborn radish begins its journey to maturity. Everything it is, everything it receives, everything it endeavors to become is inextricably connected to the root which gives it life and purpose — and so, it grows…
Stretching out fine shoots and leaves to be fueled by its environment and developing into the unique and individual form for which it was designed, it grows, but only because of that singular root.
At some point, another force will make the decision whether or not it is better for the radish to stay in the place it has always been or be plucked from the ground for its own health and well-being. It may or may not be ready, but that doesn’t matter as that is a choice beyond its control.
From an appearance perspective, a radish is rather striking – a beautiful red covering, an attractive form, and bright green, ruffled leaves. It is a pleasant thing to look upon………except, for that root. For while everything about the radish has merit following removal from its birthplace, those who made the decision to do so consider the root to be irrelevant and even distasteful.
And so, they cut it.
I wonder at the ability of a radish to scream, for if it could, in that moment, it most assuredly would.
For the force that severed that root, the radish is now perfect – healthy and red and shiny and ready to move on to the next stage of its life where it will be attended to, enjoyed, and even loved. That ugly old root was just in the way, an unnecessary appendage, and no longer relevant to the state of being that now defines the displaced radish. A simple rinsing away of the external dirt and all is well.
Except it’s not.
For the radish, there is now a gaping wound – raw, primal, and incapable of healing itself.
It has, in one traumatic moment, lost its connection to everything it has ever known – everything!
The case can be made that the radish is now in a better place – that the root it carried was twisted and diseased or the soil contained unhealthy chemicals or the water was tainted.
By removing those factors allows for the radish to be whole and free of negative influence and for it to exist with purpose and unencumbered by the past.
In theory, true.
It may also be true that the radish survived, even with those unhealthy factors, and is a miracle to be sure, but by analyzing the situation AFTER it has been removed to its new environment and expecting it to be whole and without flaw, we forget the influence of the root – how it is the very thing that the radish is formed from and was an integral part of its existence even in its negativity.
The radish, however, hasn’t forgotten.
It shows it in its actions. Its greens will wilt and shrivel. It will dry out. Its color will fade and it will become bitter. Oh, it’s possible to temporarily relieve those symptoms by soaking it in some water and allowing the wound to absorb the intervention, but it is short-lived and hard won.
There would be those who would go so far as to place the radish in such a way that the wound isn’t visible, that only the pleasant, acceptable visage is seen, but that is merely a façade because the cut still exists, detectable or not.
Inasmuch as we would like to believe that it is a painless process with few ramifications from disconnecting a root, the wounded radish tells us otherwise.
Even if its root was perfectly healthy and even if it was grown in ideal conditions and pulled from the ground at just the right time, there is and always will be the undeniable fact that that root was vital to its well-being and cutting it away, no matter what the condition, leaves a lasting effect we are incapable of imagining.
It is traumatic. It is life-altering. It is sometimes necessary and it is forever.
So what of the simple radish? What is the story it has to tell?
There are many factors here, all of which are variable, but one – that root. For some, the effects of its loss are minimal. They are able to hold their own and serve the purpose for which they are intended. For others, however, the devastation is complete and it may very well be that, regardless of the level of intervention and care, they are simply not strong enough and will , in their time, wither and fade away.
The examples are as storied and diverse as time itself.
But sometimes, sometimes there is a perfect connection that happens between a common radish and the gardener who chooses to tend it. This gardener is mindful of the wound its charge bears and recognizes that it will always be there, however, he also knows that there is the potential for beauty despite its presence.
And so, he works – carefully, tenderly, sometimes stepping back, never giving up. Along the way, he will cut his fingers – sometimes to the bone. He will be covered in dirt and sweat and the juice from the radish will burn. Often the smell will cause tears to flow and his nose to smart, but he will simply pause, wipe his eyes, and pick up the task once more.
So, why does he do this?
He does it because he sees the potential in his little radish to be something quite remarkable which, in turn, gives him purpose. He recognizes and honors the scar instead of ignoring or minimizing or hiding it and uses its presence to create something of beauty over time.
The radish is not without part in this. It must be strong enough to accept and withstand the ministrations of the one who strives to help it uncover the treasure and value hidden inside – the dazzling whiteness of purity wrapped in the crimson of strength and fire.
It doesn’t happen all the time. Often success is the rarity and all too frequently the radishes crumble or the gardener gives up. It is not an easy task, to be sure, and there are far too few who are willing.
But when the chemistry is right, there is something quite remarkable about the result — something deep and often unexplainable — spiritual — humbling — a result achieved by honoring the participants, by supporting the process, by accepting brokenness and imperfection, and most importantly, by understanding and acknowledging the legacy of the radish root.
And so it is with the adopted child…
My child, find your source of strength in the kindness of Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 2:1