Weeds. Nasty, troublesome things. They seem to dig in deep and take a lot of effort to dislodge. If they intertwine themselves with the garden plants, eradicating them is impossible for fear of tearing out the good with the bad.
This spring as I surveyed my ever bearing strawberry patch, I found bare spots where the winter was too hard for the plants despite my efforts to protect them. Where I had hoped to find the promise of healthy strawberry plants beneath the straw, I found the vibrant return of my nemesis—the dreaded violet.
A few years ago, we purchased some straw that was infested with violet seeds. It has been a battle ever since. Week after week, for years, we have carefully pulled the violets out, trying to not harm the berry plants. Some were so intertwined that they had to be partially left. Fighting those violets has been frustrating. They thrive everywhere. When I think I’ve beaten them, they appear again within days as if they had never been pulled out.
Receiving no sympathy, I tackled the job of digging out every strawberry plant, freeing it from the violet’s hold, tossing the violet offender into a bucket, and carefully replanting and bedding my strawberry plants in hopes of a bountiful berry harvest in the coming season.
Wrestling with those violets reminded me of the Parable of the Weeds in Matthew 13. In that parable, an enemy had planted weeds with the wheat. The workers had to leave the weeds because pulling them meant destroying the wheat. I think I know just how that farmer felt. Violets are pretty if they are in their proper place. They aren’t welcome in the strawberry patch.
In our lives, we can have thoughts or habits that are like those violets. They look harmless, maybe even pretty, but they take root and choke out something more valuable. They might look innocent in the fist of a young child holding them out as a gift. They may be a lovely burst of color along the roadside or in the woods, but in the wrong place or at the wrong time, they will cause problems and grief. We may lose time or miss an opportunity because we were concentrating on the wrong thing. We have to be careful when we are cultivating our thoughts and habits so that we won’t wake up to find we’ve wasted our time, lost something more precious, for a weed.
Weeds can pop up and establish their roots firmly. This can be detrimental to a more fragile plant or soul that needs specific nurturing to thrive.
Every day, we make choices. Sometimes we can get distracted by the weeds and miss the nutritious fruit. The weeds sneak in. They are a lot harder to kill once they start than they would have been had they been avoided.
My personal weed is a negative thought. If I don’t stop it at the beginning, I tend to ruminate on it.
Lord, help us to be wise in recognizing and separating the two. Help us to nurture and grow the fruit. May You burn away the weeds.
What weed harasses your garden? Your life?