Apr 6, 2010

Weed War

Aah . . . a boy and his dog. Precious, huh?

As much as I could show off my son to you all day, what I really want you to see is those pretty purple irises behind him. I love those flowers. This pic was taken shortly after we moved into this house a year ago; these things just magically popped up out of the ground one day. I didn't have to dirty one finger in that soil to receive those beauties. Amazing.

Last week as I started to see this year's new iris leaves budding, I rushed over to imbibe the glory of the new growth. "Yey! Green!!!" There is little I love more than fresh, Spring green-ness (Not a word? Whatever, spell checker). I mean, look at those rich, reedy leaves. Absolutely stunning. However, as I looked a little closer, I noticed tiny vines of greenery snaking through my brand-new flora. As cute as they were, I realized they were weeds and by the looks of their abundance, were already threatening to take over the bed.

I wasn't havin' it.

Now, I've never weeded anything in my life, but I figured it couldn't be too difficult. Just grab it and pull it out, right? Right. I grabbed those little babies and plucked them right out, root and all. In a swift 20 minutes I had them all gone. Didn't even break a sweat. As I stepped back and took a gander, I was pleased. "Aaah. . .so pretty. Good job, Misti." Mental pat on the back.

"Wait. Uh, what is that?"

Take another look at the picture above. See those little, leafy, viney things right above Buddy's and Cooper's heads?

Weeds. Sneaky ones.

See, if they would have looked like that, towering over my new buds like a 5th grade bully, I would have noticed them on the first perusal of my garden and yanked them out immediately. But my husband, in his manish sort of way, had taken his 4-foot branch cutters and gone to town on that little plot of land a few weeks earlier. So what I had now were baby bullies-in-training just biding their time for total soil domination.

Still, in my botanical ignorance, I didn't really understand their dangerous plan until I grabbed ahold of one and gave it a jerk. I almost pulled my finger off.

"Uh, excuse me?" Now I was mad.

At a plant.

It was then that I set my heart on exterminating these little creepers at any cost. No weed would have its way on my property! No sir, no way!!! Who did they think they were anyway?

I spent the next 45 minutes pulling out 4 weeds. I have never known anything or anyone so stubborn in my life. Pause. That is a lie. I live with myself, after all. Anyhoo, after repeated twists and tugs -- and a chuckle from my mother-in-law who was in the next garden over pulling out the pleasantly simple weeds I mentioned earlier -- I fetched a spade and began to dig around the roots hoping to loosen the dirt enough to get the little pest to release its foothold. Its strength was ridiculous. Nevertheless, after I dug what seemed to be 6 inches down into the ground, I was able to extract the little villain. I did the same digging, yanking, and twisting until I had saved my babies from all their prospective oppressors. I wish I had a picture of the roots of these suckers. They were at least 4 inches long. Crazy.

As taxing as it was to expurgate those weeds, I'm glad I persevered because I learned so much about life that day -- about our continuing journey to freedom.

Much like me focusing on the first overtly visible weeds, sometimes we focus on our sinful behaviors but completely miss the insidiously deeper issues behind them. It's easy to make our gardens look pretty by ridding them of behaviors like drinking or cussing or extra-marital sex. We can fix our actions and find comfort in it. But there's more to us than surface behaviors; there are hidden villains hiding deep within us wreaking havoc with plans to destroy us. Are we willing to look deeper?

These hidden hurts and sins go deep and are tough to wrench out. It's going to take work -- long, hard work -- to find freedom from sins that we have used to manage our lives for decades or from hurts that have clung to us for a lifetime. There will be casualties. I lost my spade; you may lose a toxic relationship or favorite pastime or hobby. We will get discouraged. Somedays we'll feel like we've got this thing whipped for sure and then, BAM! It's up in our faces again. The question is, are we willing to dive back in? Are we game for whatever it takes to root out the life-long sin or hurt?

The earlier you catch 'em, the easier it is. Two of the roots I dug up had been there for a while. I could tell by their tree twig-like tap roots. Those took me a good fifteen minutes to pull. Their smaller, younger counterparts took considerably less effort. It's the same with us: the longer we ignore a sin or a hurt, the bigger and stronger it grows. If we can get it in its toddler phase, we'll have a much easier go at it.

Who knew you could learn so much from a stupid, little vine? As I left my bully-free flower bed that morning, sweaty armpits and all, I couldn't help but be proud of myself. I had faced down the enemies and come out victorious. My prayer is that the weeding of my soul would be as successful.

What are you doing to weed your garden?

Father, we want to be fertile soil in which You can grow Your likeness. Give us the boldness to work with You to yank out any weed that is in the way of that growth. We surrender to Your work in us. We love You, amen.

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Anonymous said...

UGH! That's all I have to say right now. UGGGHHHHHH!
And thank you. - love you, A

The Potts Family said...

Its awesome..once again.. and may I say-- Im proud of you for writing while Coop is on vacation! Go girl!