Did you know t's about impossible to get rid of fiddlehead ferns? Last fall I moved some topsoil for pastor Joe, clearing an old fern and ivy garden in his front yard preparatory to turning it into lawn. Rather than just dump the dirt, I loaded it into my pickup and brought home about eight loads of it. I picked out the ivy I could find and spread it on the bank behind my garage; the ferns I picked out and dumped over the bank by the creek. Or so I thought. The topsoil pile beside my garage is a veritable fern garden! They are popping up all over the place, some even in my lawn where I spread some of that topsoil to level out low spots. Those ferns are hardy fellows, survivors, to be sure.
Actually, I kinda like them. I have to admire their tenacity; to come back so completely after having been uprooted and tossed aside is testimony to their hardiness. Not many plants could take the abuse I gave them. They remind me of some people I know. The world is filled with people who wilt before the slightest difficulty, folks who fade with the slightest stress. But there are also those who take blow after blow, getting up every time they get knocked down. I've sat in their presence more times than I can recall. As pastor, I was often invited into crisis situations, a woman wondering what life is going to be like after her husband walked out, leaving her with no job and a couple kids, a middle-aged man who just received his pink slip, parents who had to visit their child in jail. The list goes on and on. I've watched people endure back to back tragedies with faith and peace. I was called in to give comfort, guidance, and prayers. I received far more than I ever gave. I am still in awe of my Christian brothers and sisters who like those ferns, just keep coming back. Their persistence is a sign of life that is deep and strong, and they encourage me to never give up. For them, and for those pesky ferns, I am thankful tonight.