Every weed needs to go.
It’s that simple.
So, my hands are busy, busy, busy going for the roots and reclaiming mossy paths, and, much like the folk legend Michelangelo comment regarding sculpting as chipping away everything that doesn’t look like a horse, I’m removing everything that doesn’t look like flower garden material.
But, since the rain falls on the just and the unjust, weeds are also thriving. Everywhere.
I’ve been looking at a lot of weeds.
Some of the same type weeds were growing in the raised bed nearby; nestled in a thick mulch of grass clippings, roots released much more easily.
On the heavily used path near the front of the garden, the same annoying crabgrass seemed imbedded, and I had to use my hand hoe to pry it loose. And I still couldn’t get all the roots.
What was the difference?
I had the same situation with the succulent stemmed purslane. A huge specimen, nicely mulched along with the butternut squash, pulled out with very little effort. Removing one half the size on the path,? That was a different story.
No two of us the same. Why do we have so much trouble remembering that?
It’s tempting to look at another person’s life garden and draw conclusions about their weeds:
Why doesn’t she just quit?
Why won’t he just stop doing whatever it is that is wreaking havoc in his life?
And this is where it gets interesting, because I’m sure you already have someone in mind, or something, the sin that is in your opinion the big one, the bad one, the obvious one.
I don’t need to name one, just pick the one that popped into your mind when I said, “Why doesn’t she just quit?”
I propose we stop looking around at the ways we perceive other people are sinning, stop judging them for not “pulling it out by the roots.” Maybe they can’t. You don’t know.
In your gently mulched life garden, an egregious sin like fill-in-the-blank might never be found, and the “lesser” sins can be removed with minimal effort, minimal damage.
Did you ever pause to wonder -
Who mulched your life?
Who loosened the soil and planted good seeds?
Who taught you how to take care of those weeds before they take care of you?
Growing good plants? He hardly has energy to think of that.
He’ll need quite a bit of mulching, plenty of kind words and loving presence, to soften the soil of his heart. His garden doesn’t look like yours, but he’s following Jesus too. Who are you to judge the effort he has made to root out the ugly bits? Perhaps he has invested more prayer oomph and agony over his tenacious weeds than you have ever needed to exert because you grew up with tended soil in your soul.
Give thanks for what you have been given, but then by all means – give grace.
the quiet application of kindness,
of judgment-free presence,
of patient waiting for the Spirit to work behind the scene, all unseen, beneath the soil like a persistent earthworm.
And one day you will rejoice over that clean space which was once infested with carpet weed, that carefully tended patch of beautiful flowers or table ready vegetables.
Your prayer agony will be rewarded with the joy of seeing this one thriving- “...Their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more.” Jeremiah 31:12b
And just about the same time, perhaps you’ll discover that the bull thistle of judgment which pierced everyone who brushed against you is gone from YOUR garden.
The joy will flow around the circuit of community which has grown between you and your fellow gardeners, and the light you release will be a beacon of hope in a very weedy world.