Well it has been many days since I’ve found the time and relative quiet to revisit my thoughts in effort to order them for sharing, and as I begin I find it difficult to settle on one topic. One sentence in and I’ve already been interrupted to remove some sort of shield from GI Joe for Noah…”relative quiet” allows for such 🙂
Back to a topic…I made my way out into the yard to do some much-needed weeding that I had been putting off for weeks. Of course I would choose one of the hottest days we’ve had yet this Summer to tackle the already daunting task as I’ve never been one to consider ALL things before jumping in, just finally get the will and the grit together and go for it.
While out crawling around in the dirt and pulling weed after tangled weed from around the plants I lovingly put into the ground months or even years ago, my mind wandered to nearly every subject under the sun and I recognized how much of the natural world holds much in common. Things grow here, in our world. Good things and beautiful things along with aggravating and even harmful things, and often times they grow together.
I thought back to the times and seasons when different things were planted, the hopes I had of the beauty they would give in time. Planning precedes the physical labor in gardening and many of us have to work in sections accomplishing a piece or two at a time working toward an overall design that may not be complete for years. I’m very much the amateur and have watched many things wilt, wither, and die before finally learning enough to actually see healthy living plants yielding lovely blooms! Reminds me of other areas of my life when I pause to review times and seasons that have come and gone.
My thought life, my emotional life, relationships, education, career, pretty much every area of my life has required much trial and error before I learned to live in ways that were healthy, productive, and lasting, and I had to weed out a tremendous amount of activity…worry, fear, dread, etc. Even after planning, and making meaningful investments in these sorts of endeavors, continual tending is required to keep weed-like interference from creeping in and taking away from the beauty of what was intended and what began.
Even our thought-life, especially our thought-life, needs healthy nourishment to produce good thoughts that will foster spiritual, emotional, and relational growth. No wonder we feel bad when we feed our minds disturbing stories and images, especially if we do this without balancing those things with what is good and hopeful and pure. There is so much in our world that is overwhelmingly disturbing, yet love still remains in many hearts and lives and there is still much good to celebrate.
Some days I have to turn the television off and walk away choosing for that day to focus only on what I can do something about. On those days, I have a thought-weeding so to speak. I look at the people who are in my everyday life and I focus on loving them, on smiling and laughing with my boys, on the many blessings that are in my life and in the lives of so many. I remember the investments I’ve made in prayer, in building relationships over time, and I clear away all of the worry and the fear, just as I grab those weeds from around my rosebushes and pull with vigor in effort to get the root out of the ground, I pick those old bothersome thoughts one at a time and take them in prayer to the Lord who is able to do something about all the things I cannot, and then I thank Him for all good things. After a day of that and a few hours in my swing, I’m ready to face the larger world again.
A good weeding exposes what was intentionally planted and removes those things that came unbidden to hinder, disrupt, and take away from the beauty that was originally intended. It’s a good reminder of what all of life is like and how needful intentionality and diligence is for optimal growth.