Christ is risen!
Anxiously waiting for summer, we were finding a neglected garden surrounding our home. Weeds, fresh tree shoots and ant hills scattered throughout the yard have made our lot of paradise into a stressful environment. What was once a lovely yard and trained garden is now a suburban jungle, of sorts.
The more we tended to the yard and garden the more I realized why many saints are often gardeners. There is a delicate similarity with a healthy garden and a healthy spiritual life. After all, we too come from the earth. It makes sense that we should follow a similar pattern for harmony.
I'm sure a smarter person could write comparisons and prose on how people and gardens need sun and water to survive, are both susceptible to disease, have a limited life span and need care if we are to thrive in our surrounding. We both have the ability to evolve with protective layers to keep us safe from predators... roses have thorns we have anger.
But I was just hoping to write about the process of weeding in our gardens and in our souls to reveal a better way of life.
When I first looked out at the floral garden (the vegetable garden is torn down every year and replanted,) I found a ton of weeds among the annuals... volunteers... invaders, if you will. They are really just obnoxious. They come uninvited and really take over the landscape choking every delicate plant in its path.
I went through with gloved hands and a trowel, due to the prickly stems and thorns, and got busy pulling the weeds, roots and all. A yank here, a tug there. I swept across a section at a time and I pulled all the weeds that were interrupting my pleasure of the garden. When I was done though, I was surprised at how much I missed. Once I got the larger weeds out of the way, I saw a whole new level of invasion I didn't see before.
And so I swept through the garden again. And again.
And that's when it hit me that gardens, like our soul need constant attention and a few sweeps. Sure it's easy to remember to guard against the sinful weeds of theft, murder and dishonesty. But we can't stop there. Then we have to look deeper into ourselves for the temptations of jealousy, pride and gluttony. These are also weeds that interrupt our enjoyment and spiritual health. There is also conceit, anger and fear. And what about insecurity and doubt? Are these things the little stuff we look over or ignore because we are only looking at the big stuff.
It's so easy to say, "I'm a good person. I don't steal or kill." But in Matthew 5 Jesus tells His disciples we aren't called to stop there... we are called to look deeper into our behavior and remove ALL the weeds.
I hope to do more weeding this year... in my garden and in my soul.