Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Ah, the wonder of a garden. The whole process of putting a tiny thing into the ground and Voila! a plant springs forth. A plant that I neither created nor command. A tiny miracle every time it happens. Life manifested, complete and perfect.

There is a lot to love about a garden, the flowers, the edibles, the wonderful smelling herbs that can be grown. The sheer beauty of living, growing bounty. The colors of the flowers. The feeling of self-sufficiency when you know where your veggies are coming from and whether or not chemicals/fertilizer was used and, if so, what kinds. The security of collecting and saving your own seeds from year to year. But, today, I think the best thing about a garden is the weeds. 

The weeds? How can the weeds be the best thing about a garden? Weeds make a garden. A weed is any plant that is growing where you don't want it. I know, many gardening books will tell you about this or that kind of plant that is typically considered a weed, but I don't agree. In the first place, many of those plants are edible and very nutritious.  In the second place, some are quite beautiful and fully deserving of being in a garden on their own merit.

But weeds are essential to the gardening process. They make you pay attention to your garden. If you don't weed, then your plants will suffer for it. If you don't weed, you will have a more difficult time with harvesting your plants when the time comes. (Especially if your garden's weed of choice is thistles- as mine seems to be) In other words the weeds are the "works" of your garden. You may have read in your Bible that  "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also "(James 2:26) even though you know that "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.(Eph 2:8-9) So, just as, by God's grace, those seeds miraculously spring into life, so too do the weeds, which are the "works" for you, to keep you tending your garden. 

In addition, weeds make you think. Sometimes a weed will come up and, if it looks interesting, I'll let it grow to find out what it is. I have gotten some lovely flowers and a few nice herbs that way. Sure, I didn't plant them, but that's no reason not to take advantage of whatever agency God used to put it into my garden to enjoy it.  So weeds make you look at, and consider what is growing and make decisions on what you will allow to grow. They make you learn to discern the good plants from the bad ones. These are good skills for life. 

Then, there is my favorite part, the weeding itself. It is an excellent way to take out frustrations or even just get away from the everything and give yourself time to think. (At least before cell phones- I advise leaving them home, or at least turning them off. The world isn't likely to explode while you are weeding and if it does, you'll be in a better mood to deal with it after you're done.) 

Finally, there is the feeling of satisfaction you get, when you stand up and look over your garden and see that it is growing well(through no agency of yours, but rather by the grace of God) and safe from the loss of garden nutrients to the weeds. I know that, even though I planted the seeds, I did not cause the plants to grow. I can still take satisfaction from knowing that I am helping them by weeding. More weeds will grow, but as long as I am diligent, they won't grow very big. That is our place in helping God. God makes the plants grow. God put life into the plants and I have a choice of helping those plants to grow and flourish, or leaving them to fight the weeds for their survival. Will some of the plants grow even with the weeds? Sure they will, God gave them life and they will fight for it just as the weeds do. My only action is to help them utilize their full potential to produce good food by keeping the weeds under control, or letting them expend some of that potential in a fight against the weeds. I don't know if this makes sense to anyone else, but I choose to help.
It has been a very challenging and somewhat frustrating week, so if you will excuse me, I am going to weed my garden. 

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live" ~Deut 30:19