This morning I glanced over our backyard landscape just as the sun came up. The growing blue sky and peachy pink clouds gave me hope for another lovely summer day. But I soon discovered . . .
the beauty below the clouds was sparse and half-eaten. In the few days I had been gone, the critters had done their damage. I was devastated.
The deer ate the flowers. The squirrels munched the birdseed. The bunnies feasted on herbs. And yes, I have baffles, chicken wire, and “Bunny Be Gone” plants! This is not suppose to happen!
But just so you don’t think I fall to pieces over stuff like this, I rolled up my sleeves and started pulling weeds. (Why these critters don’t eat the weeds, I’ll never know.)
That’s what I do when I get frustrated, sad, and just plain angry. I start fixing things up. I fluff. I puff. I blow the icky out, and work to bring the lovely in. I do it inside my house and outside my house. I figure if I can get things around me comfy, I’ll be comfy.
Get on those baggy pants and make a big bowl of popcorn, Girl!
And before I know it, life is good again!
Not true. That doesn’t work. Never did. Never will. I’ve had years of experience trying. I know.
Life isn’t that easy.
Weeds make it hard.
A week ago my friend made three trips to the emergency room in one week. Each visit another health issue was discovered. Four days in the hospital for testing with no visitors. Add that to her week of moving out of their home of 20 years across town to a third floor apartment. These weeds were hard to handle. It was one of those times you wondered if you or the weeds were going to win. (I’m happy to report, she’s winning.)
A prickly thorn poked through the heart of another friend whose son, awaiting a liver transplant, spent days in an ICU alone, far away from his young children, on Father’s Day no less. The beauty came when he finally got to go home. But it wasn’t long before the beauty was eaten and another hospital stay was required. Twice. He’s still fighting. His family and friends pray these weeds to be gone and beauty to return.
Then there are those stubborn, ugly weeds of racial injustice. Weeds with deep roots. Weeds that have been around for a long time and are hard to remove, but must be for the sake of life to flourish.
What about those threatening, choking COVID19 weeds? Mysterious weeds that keep spreading and make life unpredictable. Hard to know where they’ll show up.
Then those little pesty weeds that keep you awake at night with questions and no easy answers—What can I do to get rid of these monsters? Is it hopeless?
Then it came, like the pink and blue sky this morning—slowly, bit by bit. Not big, bright, or bold, but in pale, pink patches. Nothing striking at first, but in the gazing, something penetrating . . .
Keep planting. Keep watering. Keep weeding.
Someday beauty will cover the ashes.
Good will make up for what the critters have eaten.
One way to keep weeds away is to heed the wisdom of the rabbit in this simple, yet powerful story, The Rabbit Listened, by Cori Doerrfeld, Dial Books (February 2018). (They aren’t all bad.) It takes 5 minutes to read, much longer to ponder, and for some of us, a lifetime to learn.
I doubt anyone would disagree that its message is the place we need to start for ridding the world of many stubborn, ugly weeds we find growing today. If you have no little sprout to buy it for, give yourself a present. Then leave it on your coffee table. (I hope I’ve peaked your interest enough to at least do a curbside pick-up at your library!)
When I was young my mother would make a pot of soup for a sick friend and say, “It’s not much, but it will make a difference for the now.”
Perhaps all the good we do for the now will make a difference for all the tomorrows yet to come.
There will always be weeds, but there will always be flowers, too.
Keep doing good.
Or the weeds may take over.
“Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest
if we do not give up.” (The Bible, Galatians 6:9)