Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Garden of Weeden

Last night the temperatures dipped below freezing for the first time in a while.  Fall is truly here, and I don’t think it will leave again until it has had its full say.  The trees seem serious about dropping their leaves, and the grass below is rapidly disappearing in a sea of brown clutter.  And soon it will be white.

Just last Monday the temperatures were in the pleasant 70’s and I spent some hours cleaning out the garden.  The now withered tomato plants and the long snaky vines of the butternut squash plants got pulled out and bagged for recycling pickup.  And the bags used for the still-growing weeds way outnumbered those of the dead vegetable plants.  My little plaque which reads: “The Garden of Weeden” seemed most appropriate this year.  Weeds dominated the garden by the end of this summer, despite the black plastic weed-block which covered most of the garden area.  The weeds just flourished all year long, even in the smallest of bare soil spots, and the extra fertilizer I poured on the garden?  Well, it seemed to matter not to the veggies --- growing seemed not on their agenda.     

I recall the Gospel admonition to let the weeds grow amidst the good plants --- that Gospel story seemed to imply that the good plants will always out-number and out-grow the weeds.  This year was a reminder that that will not always be true.  It seems that into every life a little rain must fall --- and some weeds grow.  It’s tempting to be sad about my meager veggie crop --- the tomatoes netted only two gallons of chili this year versus the twenty or so last year, but today I read another Gospel admonition about leaving some towns where things don’t go as you planned, and washing the soil from your feet.  Not everything will work out in life as we wish, and sometimes we just need to move on and not worry about things.

While I measured my garden output in terms of chili, who knows how God measures these things?  Maybe with less chili I’ll eat more fresh fruits and vegetables this winter --- probably a good thing for me.  And maybe spending that afternoon pulling those blankety-blank weeds was good exercise for me --- that’s probably a good thing too.  Or maybe it was just a good bonding time for me and Ritzy, the neighbor’s dog, who sat waiting patiently (well, perhaps not too patiently) all afternoon, looking at me the whole time with those big doggie eyes:  “Don’t you have any more Milkbones for me?”
(I think Ritzy ate a dozen or more bones over the course of the afternoon --- I guess he has me well-trained.)
Who knows God’s plans; maybe the reason for the whole summer’s crop failure and weed success was just for that one afternoon of weeding, and the hour spent afterward swinging gently on the deck swing, looking at the last days of the beautifully-flowered hanging baskets, listening to the soft music playing, and feeling the warm last-day-of-summer’s breeze --- and closing my eyes in peace and in rest, and feeling God’s presence, and His love.
To everything there is a season, and to everything a reason and purpose under heaven.
It is good sometimes, to just sit and count your blessings, on a warm summer’s afternoon, amidst God’s many gifts.   It might be just the thing He planned for you, and maybe He smiles as you enjoy it.

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