Honeysuckle. It is more than a scent at Bath and Bodyworks or a pretty flower you dared your friends to eat in grade school recess. To me, at least as of Wednesday, they have become a metaphor for recovery.
Honeysuckle is an invasive species—particularly here in southwest Ohio—which grows rapidly while, subsequently, strangling the life out of every nearby plant and completely taking over the area. I have spent many hours with a hack saw and shovel removing this aggressor from one of my favorite places—the Lytle Creek Greenway. To say that honeysuckle is extremely hard to remove is an understatement. My volunteer efforts with the Lytle Creek League of Conservators has caused me to lose blood, sweat and my temper.
Recently, while visiting Wilmington, I went to my private peaceful retreat of the Lytle Creek Greenway to relax and pass the time before meeting my friends for dinner. All too often I get so wrapped up in the busy-ness of daily life that I forget to slow down and simply be in the present moment. Lying on the ground at the greenway, staring through the canopy of a tree more than a hundred feet high, listening to the aria being performed by the robins and feeling the gentle caress of the breeze…I was finally afforded the moment to simply be; to live in the moment. For those few moments ED was silent, my carefully planned schedule did not exist, and all my stress seemed to fade into the emerald of the leaves. Lytle Creek is my Walden.
“That’s all well and good Rhea,” you may be thinking, “but what does that have to do with honeysuckle and recovery?” Excellent question my dear reader. As is happens, Lytle Creek is overrun with invasive Japanese honeysuckle. It has gotten to the point that the honeysuckle is killing native trees, displacing local animals and taking over the trails built at the greenway. I, along with countless other volunteers, have been working to remove this assassin from our beloved greenway for many years. As I lay in the woods this week, I realized how much the honeysuckle invasion mirrors ED’s hostile takeover in our lives. At first, as with the honeysuckle, ED comes into our lives with beauty and charm; a seemingly innocent addition to our lives. We think, just a little bit of this could be ok, right? Before we know it, both ED and the honeysuckle begin spreading and strangling the life around them; eventually destroying everything with which they come into contact. Everything we care about—our flowers, our trees, our self-worth, our lives—is displaced by our honeysuckle (or ED, if you will). Only through removing ED from our true selves—as we remove the honeysuckle from Lytle Creek Greenway—do we see the beauty that lies within each of us. By removing the invasive ED from our lives, we are able to clearly see the strength and bravery that lies, inherently, within all of us. Only through the path to recovery can we begin to remove the honeysuckle from our lives and rediscover our own lives. Remember, beneath all the honeysuckle that is ED is a wonderful human being with so much to offer the world; you are more beautiful, stronger and more caring than ED gives you credit for. You are worth recovery.
The following photos of the Lytle Creek Greenway were taken with my cell phone. Therefore, please excuse the graininess and know proper photos will return soon.
Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”