It’s a crummy weekend here in Minnesota. Overcast and humid, one feels as though one might wilt, if one is not first carried off by mosquitoes.
Nevertheless, I walked to my garden out back first thing this morning, and spent about half-an-hour weeding. The first fruits of tomatoes and peas are showing, and the green beans are just starting to climb the fence. The lettuce will be ready next week.
For those of us who love God and love getting our hands dirty in the garden, Craig Goodwin‘s book, Year of Plenty, is a great companion. As Craig notes repeatedly in the book, he had companions, too: his two daughters and his wife, and fellow Presbyterian pastor, Nancy. (Craig and Nancy were classmates of mine at Fuller Seminary in the 1990s.
Well, Nancy’s got an inspiring post of her own at Her.meneutics, the Christianity Today women’s blog in which she expresses gratitude for [gasp!] weeds! Nancy writes,
Our family established a rule early on: you have to walk on the path. No shortcuts. This helped nurture the growth of the plants, and also caused me to slow down and be careful. This was often an inconvenience, especially when running into the garden to grab some basil or chives for dinner. But every time I was tempted to skip, hop, and jump over the rows, I was forced to slow down and ask, Why am I in such a hurry? It forced me to pause and to remember to give thanks for all the beauty and new growth along the path.
Along with slowing me down, my work tending to the garden has helped me pay attention to the soil of my life. It is a way of daily living out the parable of the soils that Jesus teaches about. I especially relate to the soil Jesus describes as choked by thorns (Luke 8:7). That’s the weedy soil, and believe it or not I’ve come to be grateful for the weeds in our labyrinth.