Bittersweet is one of the first plants for which I leanred the botanical name. Celastrus orbiculatus is an invasive species that we come across regularly when weeding and maintaining gardens. You can identify it by the spindly vines, roundish leaves, and orange roots. Thinking about this plant brings to mind much from this season of landscaping.
“Bittersweet” is also the word my landscaping manager, and closest friend at work, used to describe the ending of the season. The end of the landscape season is sweet because we’re worn down physically, the work grows a little dull,the daylight fades, and cold breezes chill you through the day. The coming winter means time at home – resting, working or something in between. The end of the season is sweet.
The end is also bitter because there are aspects of the work that we love. There are mornings so fresh that I laugh, afternoons that gently sweep into evening, and the satisfaction of working with my hands. I will miss the people, which is really the sweetest part of work. Through this year and a half of landscaping I’d often spend more time at work in a given week than I would with my family. These friendships are significant and I do not know what will happen down the road when we do not have all this time together. Without the hours stacked, day against day, what will last? So many of our conversations take the hours to develop, even though they may only last minutes. The daily chatter is the subtext from which the points of deeper connection spring.
It is both bitter and sweet that I will not be back next year. While I long to move onto the work of church planting which God has ahead of us, I will miss my friends and my role in the company. I will miss my coworkers who do not see me primarily through a title (pastor) but in many ways relate to me as one of them. This will probably be the last time I have this shared experience. I feel the chapter closing and deeply anticipate the next, but cannot look upon this ending without sadness. I am glad that God, who “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place…” is the one who assigns times and places. There is a lot behind this portion of scripture from Acts 17, but I resonate with God’s overarching rule in where we go and when.
In preparation for moving to RI, we are about to put our home in West Hartford on the rental market. So I’ve been learning from the IRS about the tax law for rental properties. Surprisingly it has been interesting. I understand why people rent and see some of the significant tax advantages. So we’ll have it on craig’s list shortly…