Monday, June 23, 2008

Pulling Weeds & Feeding the Dog

"I swear I pulled that very weed two days ago!" Do you ever feel like this? Well, in my case, I probably had pulled that weed two days ago, because due to time constraints, my weeding philosophy (yes, I actually have one!) has been to pull weeds so that the bed looks good and not worry about getting it all the way down to the root. I'm more interested in my native prairie plants looking neat and tidy, than worrying about what is actually going on under the soil (this year, at least!). I can hear all you Real Gardeners groaning out there . . . .

As I was pulling the same weeds today that I pulled a few days ago, I started thinking about how much that is like life. How we all have things that really should be rooted out, but often we are more concerned with appearances and not actually getting down to the heart of matters. I rarely have these kinds of quiet moments where I can think like this (Bean & Bear are at church day camp all week -- THANKS, MOM!! and Bug was napping -- one of the sweetest words in the English language), so as I let my mind wander around with that thought for a while, I did stumble on a couple of other ideas moving within the same metaphor. For instance, this year, we took precautions by putting down weed cloth and mulch so that what weeds did grow would be easier to yank out. I also weed almost everyday, so the bane of my existence, (creeping charlie-the blasted stuff!) is smaller and less. This got me thinking about what precautions I need to take in the rest of my life to avoid letting garbage fester and bad habits take over. Forcing more peaceful moments each day with just my thoughts and God might be a good start! One more reason to start getting up earlier . . . .

And finally, all of this weed pulling and thinking and hot sun congealed into a crystallized moment (I think that is a mixed metaphor since congealing things aren't really crystallizing -- but just go with me here!) that has nothing to do with gardening. I don't know about you, but I have character flaws (frankly, this should read: SINS) that I think I will deal with until the day I die. But I was reminded today about a metaphor from C.S. Lewis about dogs. He likened our physical, natural character to a black dog and our spiritual, God-attuned side to a white dog. Whichever dog you choose to feed becomes stronger, while the other starves. I have found this to be so true. Even though I may never fully triumph over some issues in my life, if I choose not to feed that wrong desire or fault, it will become weaker and weaker in its pull on me. When I cultivate my relationship with Christ, I become stronger and more able to resist and flee temptation. To be honest, I recently failed in fighting an old issue that I thought was dead and there it goes, gaining in strength again. Starvation mode is now in full swing. I want to put that sucker down for the count!

So today, as I finish up some yard work and take care of Luna/Yu-Ya/Woo-Da/Lerda (that dear, sweet soul from Cayman who comes to a variety of names), I'm going to be thinking about what other things I might need to root out and starve and what needs to be fed more. I need to more concerned about what is going on in my heart, than what other people perceive about me. Just because I can say the right words or put up enough of a facade to keep people from seeing the real me, does not mean that everything is weed-free and pristine on the inside. That needs to be the never-ending quest of life --pulling out the weeds and starving that bad, bad dog.

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