A hanging flower pot, overflowing with a geranium and vinca vine, blushes pink whenever visitors arrive at our kitchen door. The plants are vigorous and lovely, a stunning display of color and creation.
But the vinca vine was not always so healthy.
Both the geranium (not the heritage geranium mentioned before on this blog) and the vinca vine were refugees, rescued from Mom’s house in the fall of 2008 when she gave up housekeeping. “Would you take this to your house?” Mom asked, handing me the flower pot. The geranium looked fairly healthy, but the vinca vine was one straggly, droopy sprout. She pointed to it and explained, “It got too big, so I tore it down. Take good care of it, and give it time.”
“It’ll come back,” she said.
I wasn’t so sure. After a winter of pampering, the vine still looked sickly. In the spring, I repotted it and the geranium in fresh soil and watered it religiously all summer. The geranium loved the attention, but the vinca vine paid me no mind. By the end of the summer, it looked as sickly and straggly as ever.
Over the next three years, it didn’t come back.
The plants were pampered all winter, repotted each spring, watered and fussed over all summer. The geranium bloomed madly, but the vinca remained straggly, sickly, droopy, ugly. This past winter, the long vinca vines dried up, and a couple new sprouts shot up from the roots. Frustrated, I whacked off the dried vines with a scissor. Then I gathered the brown leaves and stems and muttered, “This is your last chance,” to the silent, sickly, straggly vine.
Over the next month, it came back.
Every week, more new shoots sprouted. Once repotted in new soil and outdoors for the summer, it went crazy. Sprouting. Leafing. Vining. Cascading. Giving the blooming geranium a run for it’s money. Despite this summer’s heat. Despite the worst drought since 1988. This hot, dry summer, my mother’s promise came true.
It came back.
Each time I water it, each time it catches my eye, each time visitors comment on the lovely pot, each time I picture the straggly, sickly sprout she gave me, her confident words ring in my ears.
“It’ll come back.”
I look at the vine and think of all that’s happened in our lives since the vine came to our house in 2008. It is a constant reminder of a hard-learned truth. Like a husband’s restored health after a long convalescence, like a prodigal son come home after years far away, like a non-expressive parent finally able to express emotion thanks to a cruel disease, like high school friendships renewed after a long hiatus, like the promise of eternity in the presence of a loving God, the best things in life are worth the time, the patience, the prayers, the undying hope, and the love required until…
They do come back.