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  • Writer's pictureKristen Cole

Weeds, Be Gone!

The weeds had no chance against me after the week I had had. "Those suckers are getting destroyed, " my inner voice sinisterly laughing from within. I had gloves, little and big sheers, a whole lot of fight and even more emotionally charged energy to release.

Years of freedom, those weeds flourished right where they wanted to, one might even say, gloriously. Full sun, close to the water, no human to recognize and expose their disguise. They were mighty. Much taller than the carefully placed flowering plants in the originally designed landscape, assuredly stealing every element necessary for even a hardy plant to thrive.

The original gardener had obviously meticulously planned- weed cloths, soakers, plants that had history of proven ability to fight through times of solitude when the owner was away for up to months at her other home. The prized plants didn't need much TLC at all because they knew just how deep they had to go to establish their roots to withstand periods of stress. They just needed their owner to pull the weeds. Easy enough.

But, those plants were not prepared for their gardener to forget what a weed even was. The weeds were wolves in sheeps' clothing - they flowered even, deeply confusing their owner's mind, haunted by dementia. Their crafty disguise rattled even sound-minded me. It was as if they were taunting me when I approached them. "Look at me, tall and mighty, my leaves a bright green with just enough organized design to confuse you. Am I a weed? Am I a plant? Hahaha." Determined to expose these little jerks for exactly what they were, I started pulling, chopping, cutting, destroying. I let those weeds have it. They did not see me coming. Hours later, four ginormous piles of vines, canes and phony flowering greens lay dead on the lawn.

It was easy to pull up those weeds. They just did not have the deep roots that the plants did. Instead of growing deeper in stress, they grew taller and wider - they put on as much outward show as they could to cover up what they lacked in root straining fortitude. And they were masters of disguise. Even eerily attractive... They may have been able to fool my fragile grandmother, but they were no match for me. Shallow rooted impostors be gone. And they were.

After I pulled and chopped all of the weeds, I learned that my sweet grandma had prohibited anyone else from doing that in the past, citing her affinity for the lovely flowers they produced. She would go on about the fact that every living thing deserved a chance - so much so that it made one wonder if she was reflecting upon her own life and current state of being trapped in the prison of her mind.

She shuffled right up beside me and whispered, "Even though we view weeds differently, I know you are smart and are doing the right thing." She trusted me to come along side her and call a weed a weed and toss it aside like the liar it was. She needed wise counsel and in that weed distinguishing moment, that was me.

I wonder just how much my gardening experience resembles the reality of the weeds showing up big time during this pandemic. Gardeners have been busy, distracted, forgetful - and the weeds have been left to flourish. Sadly, the weeds of our world have an even greater capacity to choke out the goodness of their neighboring shrubs, flowers and good greens. People hurting others, impatience, selfishness, judgement, false teachings...the list goes on. It is excruciating to accept that any of these worldly weeds would be allowed the chance to grow taller, wider, stronger... What a hard time to take a step back and survey the landscape of our turned upside down lives and muster courage amidst so much stress and self doubt to first recognize the weeds, then start eliminating them with confidence.

I am only a human, a sinful one at that, but was able to help my weaker grandmother do what needed to be done to get rid of the thieves in her flower bed. Those weeds were stealing what the good plants needed to truly thrive and not just survive. How much greater is the guidance and confidence we have in our Heavenly Father to give us discerning eyes for the weeds of life? And how much easier to even recognize Him when we have a trusted sister or brother, coming alongside us in solidarity.

The greatest lesson I have learned so far in this pandemic is the absolute necessity of seeking God Himself. Not even His direction, guidance or plan. But HIM. He is our treasure, He is our guide, He is our discernment. So long I have prayed, "Please guide my path and show me your will." This is not a wrong prayer, but it is a prayer seeking His plan, not Him. It is when we seek Him, that we can have confidence in who He is in us when we need clarity to do the hard things of this life. And we can be sure that He sends other gardeners of the faith to pick us up when we are weak and cheer us on when we are strong.

As this pandemic has persevered, I have recognized my own foggy mind - not much different than my grandmother's dementia mind -scattered, confused, dumbfounded and afraid - making it very difficult to even recognize weeds, much less muster the confidence to take my sheers to them. Makes me realize my absolute dependence on the Master Gardener and leads me to say. "God, we may see weeds differently, but I know you are smart and are doing the right thing."

Maybe it is time to survey and eliminate the weeds in our lives and to say with confidence, "Weeds, be gone! There is no room for you here and I will call out your peacock spreading disguise in a hot second. I am on to you. You will not choke out my roots and prevent me from blooming bright beautiful shows of pink, purple, blue, yellow, red, orange...also known as kindness, goodness, patience, self control, love and joy. Not today weeds, not today."

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