Monday, June 15, 2009
For most of us, life is a beautiful journey that goes largely unnoticed. This is about how I missed beauty because of a small sample of brokenness common to our planet. Somehow, we westerners tend to just miss it when beauty and blessing are right before us. See if you can find yourself in the story:
For my wife, spring and summer are all about her flower garden. For me, gardening is all about my wife. So a few weeks back, when she asked me to help her weed her garden, I basically said, "No thank you, that would be your hobby, not mine." My motorcycle needed cleaning! So, anyway ... I went out immediately and began to clear this stuff called Morning Glory from a smallish square of earth. (What does that tell you about family order?!) When we finished literally digging the whole section down about a foot, we planted several other non-weed like plants and it really did look nice. But know this: the person that gave that creeping nasty weed the name “Morning Glory,” must have been the same guy that named Greenland and Iceland! No one wanted to go to Iceland because it sounded like a frozen wasteland, so the other sailors went to Greenland and left beautiful Iceland to the smart Norsemen! Morning Glory is a hideously deceptive name that makes us think beauty when really it’s an unholy trick!
Some smart person named that weed “Morning Glory” so that it would give him an advantage over the other farmers on the block. The others would hear its beautiful name, admire its little blossoms, and let it grow. All the while those dirty “namers” planted their veggies and got to market before the rest of ‘em! There is nothing glorious about Morning Glory! This is not a flower at all! It’s an insidious vine with a take-over plan! Trying to kill that weed proves that toil and the sweat of your brow deal! Speaking of gardens, I remember a famous one where all this trouble originated. This weed is straight from Hell! The Devil disguises himself like and angel and this weed like a flower. Dig all the way to the root and you haven’t got the root. When it’s pulled out or cut off it still flourishes. It actually seems to like being attacked and grows back faster. Chasing it down into the earth several feet you think it’s finally eradicated, but NO! When one finds those little white root feelers they snap off easily and produce a hundred more! The very next day it’s sprung new shoots and is taking over again. That nasty thing is freaky creepy!
Wednesday morning my wife didn’t have to work so I let her sleep in a bit, took the girls to school and returned to make a cup of coffee. I got back to a quiet house, took my coffee and sat out in the garden on our little bench. I tried to quiet myself, breath and still my stress for a moment before I left of for the office. There I was, sitting in a former battle ground, feeling some level of satisfaction and enjoying the real beauty. So this is what gardening is about, says I? It was all lush green with splashes of color everywhere! Roses were exploding with of blooms. There were those yellow deals, some pink and red flowery things with tight blossoms, that creeping green carpet like ground cover, some of that spiky grass that grows at Ocean Shores, and three squatty green bushes with purple spikes beginning to poke out, (I told you gardening wasn’t my hobby!). I could actually see the fish pond and the hundreds of blue berry blossoms. The corn is way past “knee-high-by-the-4th-of-July,” And the grape vines actually looked like they could produce one day soon. I’m thinking, This is sweet. I like it. Let’s do this again!
It was really restful. This is very cool. Thank you God, I said out loud. And then I spotted it. I looked down and there it was, creeping out from under the stepping stones two feet away. Just as I felt my pulse slowing and my blood actually beginning to cool in my veins, there were those damnable little creeping Morning Glory monsters growing again right from where we’d dug down several hundred feet to strangle them one week before! Now I’m not just saying this for blog-effect, I honestly became physically irritated and then saddened. I lost the benefit of beauty. I quickly forgot the glimpse of glory that slowed my blood pressure and momentarily rested my busy brain.
It wasn’t but thirty seconds between rest and restlessness! A sigh escaped and I hung my head staring into my tepid coffee. Why is it so branded into our human psyche to just miss it? Then, I remembered that other Garden long ago and wondered Why God? The blessing was right before them and they focused on the one thing they were told to avoid. Those earliest ancestors were placed in the most beautiful garden imaginable. And with NO WEEDS! But they still missed it. How God must have sighed a huge holy sigh when they did what He knew they would do. They just missed it. They traded the beauty before them, for the death that would follow them all the way to us. After that eternal tragedy, they spent the rest of their long lives fighting weeds and missing the enjoyment of the life of God left around them. Now it’s my tendency to spend my time sitting in my lovely little garden, with my coffee, healthy kids, my bills paid, a great job, a rock-star wife, and a little congregation of the sweetest, sincerely authentic people I’ve ever been within, and I’m pissed at weeds ... I just missed it.
Damn weeds! Everyone a distractions to beauty! Isn’t this our human condition? We tend always to miss blessing and beauty because of a few pesky, even monstrous but momentary, little weed-like issues that creep in under the stepping stones along our path. It’s easy to miss the privilege of walking until we see the lady in a wheel chair rolling through the cross walk to get across before the light changes. Why is it so easy to cuss about our kids for their immaturity and childishness, rather than see the intricate design of God woven into each? It’s too easy to hate our boss rather than be thankful for a job. We naturally moan about being busy until we find someone that's truly lonely. It’s too easy to criticize the Barista and lose the enjoyment of that fresh hot cup of Verona. It's easier to grouse about having to pull weeds than to focus on the beauty of the garden around us, isn’t it?
Just like killing weeds blinds us from the beauty of our gardens, life’s little troubles tend to take our attention captive. We still miss the beauty of the garden. But the solution is simpler than we think. Give thanks often. Sit in your little garden, whatever it may be, and breathe. And rest. Enjoy a kiss, or the touch of someone who loves you no matter what. Take a nap in the sun. Notice the color of your daughter’s eyes! Hug your sons! Don’t just think stuff, do stuff! Open your eyes; leave the thoughts about weeds behind - unimportant compared to the beauty of rest and the prize of a moment of peace – and live longer.