Sunday, May 8, 2011
Last Saturday was one of the nicest weather days we've had here in North Dakota. Granted, we've only had three nice weather days so far, so it's not like it had a lot of competition. I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and temperatures, though, and get some weeding done alongside the garage.
We have a planter on the south side of our garage that's home to a row of hostas. Last year, since I was a new mom and rarely left the nursery, let alone the house, it went completely neglected and when I gazed from the kitchen window, all I could see were weeds. Lots and lots of weeds. Before we got too far along in the season this year, I decided I would get a head start and clean the planter of unwanted plant life.
First of all let me say that my butt was so beyond sore - I may make weeding a part of a regular workout regimen. Bending, squatting, kneeling, and bracing yourself to pull those buggers out of the ground gives the old rump-a-roo a run for it's money. I had no idea I would be toning anything other than my arms. Buns Of Steel ain't got nothin' on pulling weeds.
I had Haley outside with me so we could both enjoy the sunshine and I could keep an eye on her while her daddy napped inside - he was sick and trying to get over whatever bug had a hold of him. As I was weeding, I was struck by the life lessons that parallel weeds. I glanced over at Haley and hoped I could remember these when she's old enough to understand, so I can relay them to her creatively. I'll share what I learned and hope it makes as much sense in your world as it did in mine.
The first thing I noticed when I got down and dirty, was a worm. Then four worms. Then an entire planter full of worms. I have an aversion to anything with more than four legs - everyone knows this. No matter if it's a spider, moth, dead or alive - I loathe and detest anything with more than four legs. I don't want it to touch me, see me, come near me - anything. I make this fact known to said creature by screaming or running away flailing any and all movable limbs in an attempt to escape it's evil presence. Worms have no legs - however, they have roughly the same effect on me. They don't scare me as much as something that can walk or fly, but they do gross me out. I tried to think happy thoughts and thank them for enriching the soil so my hostas could flourish.....and I managed to do so without being too grossed out. Thank heavens for gloves and gardening spades.
Second - weeds were everywhere. Once I got down to their level, they just kept appearing. I wouldn't see all of them at first until I really looked, and could see them sprouting up here, there, and everywhere. At first glance, it didn't look like there were all that many and I would be done in no time. Once I got going, though, I realized it was going to take a lot longer than I originally anticipated.
Weeds are something you have to stay on top of. The moment you think you can let them go unattended, they take total control. They take over. They overwhelm their space and completely dominate over any and all other life.
Weeds are also very deceiving. Some of them take on the appearance of harmless, pretty plants. In reality, though, they're noxious weeds with one agenda. Be the sole survivor. Ruin the resources, aspirations, and successes of everything in it's path.
The roots of weeds are just about ridiculous. Some of them go on forever - down to the core of the earth almost. Others branch out and spring up new weeds from their random shoots. It becomes an intricate, tangled system. Of course if you don't pull out the entire root, the weed will repair itself and grow back. More often than not, you will break the root - or in some cases not get the root at all, and only remove the part of the weed above the ground's surface. Some roots you'll never be able to pull out completely - it's a constant chore to keep the ground maintained so you can prevent as much of the weed's growth as possible.
How that parallels life is this:
Sometimes you have to have yucky things (worms) in order to improve upon and benefit from what life hands you. It won't always be pretty, but in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)
All is not what it seems. Especially when it comes to trouble. Sure you may think you'll be able to get away with it - it'll just be one time, only a little bit, no one will tell the difference....but once you start, that trouble seems to multiply. More and more issues pop up before your very eyes. You won't see the big picture the first time, and when you think you've covered all your bases, you're wrong. "His eyes are on the ways of mortals - he sees their every step." (Job 34:21)
If you're focused on the wrong things in life, they'll consume you. It's up to you, the things you deem important, but if you base those importances materialistically, the unimportant things will weasel their way in to the urgency of your day to day living. Your happiness will escape you because you'll work too hard to hold on to the things that give you no fulfillment. They're everywhere, and it's easier to fall in to their snare than to avoid them. (Jeremiah 50:33)
Don't judge a book by it's cover, as the saying goes. Sometimes when something looks innocent and harmless, it deserves a second glance. And a third. And a fourth. Unfortunately we live in a day and age where the father-of-lies has hold of far too many who make their way through life via deception and dishonesty. (John 8:44)
You won't be able to fight it all, avoid it all, or conquer it all. Sometimes the problems have roots that are far beyond our capabilities to destroy. The trick is to keep plucking away at what doesn't belong, and allow truth and beauty to grow and prosper. What doesn't kill us may make us stronger, but it doesn't mean we won't ever get tired of fighting the same battles. Even as we tire - we must remember sometimes the battle isn't ours to fight. Be persistent, be consistent, be firm in what you believe. The stronger you stand your ground, the less ground the "weeds" have to take root in. (2 Chronicles 20:17)
And last, and most likely least - stretch before you garden. It may save you from suffering from, as my college instructor called it, "DOMS". Delayed onset muscle soreness. In your bum.