What Weeds In A Graveyard Can Teach You About Bitterness

My parents grew up and met in a small town in New York, between Rochester and  Buffalo, called Batavia.

Around Mother’s Day this year, my mom and I went to the graveyard there, where all my grandparents are now buried.

As we started cleaning up the leaves and weeds around the headstones of my dad’s parents, we feasted our eyes on one of the biggest weeds I’ve ever seen.

I mean this thing was mammoth with Jack and the Beanstalk-esque (is that how you spell that?) qualities.


It stood about four feet tall and two inches thick with a stem — which looked more like a trunk at this point— covered in large sharp thorns.

We were ill prepared for this fight armed only with our wits, a couple of plastic “Wegmans” bags and a pair of scissors.

As my mom and I took turns wrestling, hacking and accumulating battle wounds trying to remove it, I felt like God whispered something over the loudspeaker of my heart:

“Deanna, this is what bitterness looks like when you allow it to grow in your life.”

Oh. My. Gosh.

That moment was a lovingly scary wake-up call.

It can feel safer and be more satisfying in the moment, to talk about the things people have done to you with others, rather than bring it up with those you need to confront.

We can occasionally feel justified —or even a momentarily sense of reprieve from our pain — when we take out our suffering on anyone or anything that comes in our path when we’re hurting.

The most difficult thing sometimes can be the best thing for us and the very thing that will lead to our healing.

For me, what leads to healing and peace instead of bitterness has often looked like forgiving someone instead of holding the harm and pain of things they’ve done to me against them.

This is a process. It’s not easy. And, it doesn’t come naturally. But, based on the picture of bitterness I got that day if we don’t — if I don’t — this freakishly monstrous thing grows inside our hearts. The only way to “trim it back” is through confession, confrontation, and forgiveness.

If we don’t actively do that, the ugliness continues to grow and I fear that as it grows, we become like the people and the things that harmed us in the first place.






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