Weeds

Quote:  Look within.  Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.  ~~Marcus Aurelius

Living in Phoenix where summer temperatures once reached 122 degrees on June 26, 1990, I am a gardener who loves anything that grows.  Absolutely anything.

When people from Phoenix move to Oregon, we don’t cut down trees either.  Just ask my grade school friend Shawnee.  It took her fifteen years to grab a chainsaw.

This Arizona fried-brain attitude makes life very difficult in the garden.  Seed packages tell you to place zinnias six inches apart.  But when you look at a small seedling isolated on a patch of dry dirt, six inches is a long way to reach a fellow zinnia.  This is also why it’s very hard for an Arizonan to work up a hatred for weeds.

I remember the first Californian who walked through my lush green yard.  “What is this?” she asked.  When I told her, she exclaimed in horror, “In California, Bermuda grass is a weed!!”

“Well,” I inwardly sniffed, “it’s green.  Besides, everybody grows Bermuda grass.  And double besides, I can buy Bermuda grass seed at the nursery.”  I didn’t want her to know she hurt my feelings, but to call Bermuda grass a weed seemed a bit harsh.

Slowly, one question percolated up from inside of me, finally rising to the surface.  What is a weed?  I began looking up weeds in every gardening book I could find.  Most didn’t tell you what they were.  They only told you how to poison them.

Eventually, in my non-poison Rodale organic gardening “bible,” I found what I had by now begun to suspect, “Weeds are simply native plants that happen to be growing where you would rather have something else grow.”  Webster’s is even more to the point, “A plant that is not valued where it is growing.”  Further down, Webster leaves no doubt, “an obnoxious growth, thing, or person.”

I’ve learned to identify with weeds.  Bermuda grass knows how to take advantage of limited water and soil conditions.  It’s willing to endure searing summer heat to give us green grass by the swimming pool.  That’s enough to make me forgive it when it sneaks into the row of cucumbers.  I still dig and pull at stray Bermuda strands, insisting they obey my boundaries.  But I don’t poison it.  And I don’t celebrate over its dry remains.  I wish it well.

Weeds take me closer to God than almost any plant I know.  In human terms they may be plants “not valued where they are growing,” but I doubt God thinks that.  He made weeds.  He made me.

Many days I feel like a human weed.  There are people who have told me as much.  But God made me.  He doesn’t make weeds.  He makes plants who extend beyond their boundaries, and he makes people who goof up now and then.  But God doesn’t make weeds.  He loves us.   And He wants us.  No matter what names people want to stick on us.  There are no weeds in God’s kingdom.

Scripture:   For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psa 139:13-14

Reflection:  Each day, write one special accomplishment of that day on a 3 x 5 note card.  At the end of seven days, choose a nickname for yourself based on your accomplishments.  Post your nickname on the refrigerator…and smile.

 

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Meditations:  In the Garden
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