Somehow, even though our state has imposed water restrictions due to a severe drought, the weeds continue to grow. Our garden soil sits fallow and the prickly, tough trunks are the only things green. They are pervasive and take over the fertile ground; even without watering.
It doesn’t take much for bad seeds to take root; shallow though they are.
What am I going to do about it? I ask myself this question as I grit my teeth and dig deep; trying to find the motivation within. I have been lazy in dealing with the weeds that have begun to overtake my daily life. The school papers and backpacks that sit on tables, untouched. The dust that collects on the unmounted blinds. The parachute strings that pin me down; immobilizing ideas wishing to take flight. The negative thoughts that get stuck in my head; hindering my growth. My mind sits frozen and non-functioning; waiting for a divining or swooping in of something or someone who will take care of these things for me. Is believing in goodness and faith enough?
Am I the tree that is stuck in the ground, unwatered and fallow, or am I deeply rooted, reaching for the sun and bearing fruit?
The weeds seem to be overtaking my area and I stand idly, letting them.
Surprisingly I see the struggling tomato plant. The seeds from two years before took hold and grew; against all odds. The fruit trees have flowers, the roots deep enough to tap into the underlying water table. Weeds do not grow in their shade. In the smothering heat, somehow, these trees have survived; even with neglect. The grapevines twine around all things in their path; kids’ big wheels and teeter -totters.
The hubs clawed through the hard earth, seeking the pipes beneath. He had turned off our sprinkler system due to water restrictions and a leaking sprinkler head in January. Last week he finally began to troubleshoot and spent countless hours going to and from the home improvement store. His frustration was palpable. Why does it matter, I asked him, when we can’t really water anyway? But he stoically trudged on until, finally, he discovered the source of the leak.
As we re-dug trenches for our drip-hose system I sarcastically commented how we can now water the weeds. We found ourselves in the heat shoveling and hoeing our soil; the weeds poking and prodding with prickly leaves and thorny spines with the physical defenses that ensure their survival. Complacency, sarcasm and laziness are self-protecting armor; pervasive and and blocking anything fertile or productive. I shoveled and pulled weeds with alacrity; my own frustrations bubbling over. As the sun set our yard trash bin lay full.
Am I stuck or deeply rooted?
The sprinklers turned on; the water efficient drip-system finally working. The weeds were cleared and only the lone tomato plant and trees remain. The table needed to be moved for the window blinds to be mounted. I heard the splinter of wood, breaking of glass and the scoffing laugh from the hubs. Again I grit my teeth. There is always something.
It has been six years since I have walked the aisles of Ikea. When my sons were younger it was here that I’d meet my other childhood girlfriend with her kids of similar ages. This was our halfway point and amidst Swedish meatballs and colorful displays; we’d share our summer days. This place is one of my bff’s faves and I think of her driving almost five hours to visit one. The hubs and I take in the crowded showrooms, the families hovering and imagining home improvement projects.
I stood undecided in the office area for over an hour as parents fretted about with children, in tow, searching for desks and chairs. Some were sending off kids to college; others had young children buying their first “big boy” desk. The hubs impatiently sat in an office chair; waiting for a choice to be made and unhappy about all of it. I saw the decorative picture of the tree on the wall.
I am stuck in my life; finding disappointment in circumstances and people. I can’t see past the weeds and am not bearing fruit. I am ego centered; letting the prickly thorns pervade my view. The forest is unseen. I felt the tears prick my eyes; standing in the crowded showroom. I stood alone.
I heard the words from earlier, the ones that reminded me that trees have multiple branches. I thought of my family and friends who occupy those places and who offer me ways to grow. It is in times like these that we must put ourselves out on a limb. To look past the details to see the wider view and varying perspectives. To believe there is more to this life besides ourselves. My growth does not lie in my own hands. I must give it up and trust it to something greater than myself, to become un-stuck and grow. I do not want to be ego-centered.
It is in letting the ego go that one can bear fruit.
The hubs found me standing there and, hand extended, I grabbed his proffered, roughened palm. I thanked him for the broken table and shattered glass as I decided. My choice was made.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Corinthians 13: 4-7 NIV.
I am deeply rooted and bound by those who love me and those whom I love. But I often need the reminder; blinded by the weeds of ego: greed, envy, pride and self-importance. I seek my center outside of myself. Love was the olive branch I had needed.