The Villainy of Weeds

My garden remains — queue the writing metaphor — a work in progress. My last post pictured a part of my 35′ x 7′ raised bed. Full disclosure, here’s a view of the garden I neglected to include. Where veggies once grew in the space, all that green (to the left of the owl) is a persistent tangle of unwelcome, unwanted grasses. (In my garden bed, grass is always considered a weed.)

In the summer of 2010, I had worked painstakingly to eradicate weeds and grasses from the strawberry bed growing to the right. In my initial efforts, I’d grab a handful of green blades and yank from the ground all the offenders I could extract. Occasionally, a ball of dirt with roots came loose, but mostly the green shoots broke away from their underground source. Within days, new shoots eventually raised their green spires heavenward.

Stubbornly resolved to prevail, I set about eliminating the source:  roots. Never having taken a close look at grass before, I was blissfully unaware it could (and does) grow in a linear fashion.

I learned. (The photo above shows how far my battle progressed.) I used a spade and often my fingers to unearth and chase down the subterranean beasts. I discovered the roots below stretched longer and deeper than the surface blades. Seemingly insignificant roots just at the surface were deceptively innocuous; it’s only when the dirt was broken that I realized how strongly the growth had embedded itself with myriad tentacles into the soil.

I don’t pretend to have an inexhaustible knowledge of grass now. Having uprooted the grass from half my garden bed, I’m painfully aware of its resilience and beauty … in the right place.

In my last post, I concluded by posing a question about whether or not gardening may prove an unnecessary diversion to decrease my writing time. A legitimate question. After repeatedly digging my hands into the soil, I began to relish those moments of contemplative exploration into my walk with God. Instead of diversion, I’ve experienced a divine tutorial.

It began with soiled hands, cursing weeds, but proceeded to a deeper understanding of the nature of SIN. Genesis 3 relates that God cursed the ground because of the first Man’s sin. Verse 18 refers to the “… thorns and thistles it shall grow for you.” In other words, weeds are nearly as old as the Fall, an inescapable by-product of sin having entered the world.

Old as the Fall, but sin is as current as a Google news feed. Like weeds that muck up our gardens, the Bible tells us sin is deadly. Sin has fixed itself like cancer into our DNA. Today, people excuse sin (I’m not as wicked as so-and-so), or they try to manage it (I resolve to be a better person). But the nature of sin doesn’t change, despite our deluded efforts to believe otherwise.

Apart from an excision, one by one, there are remedies … both for sin and for weeds. That’s a discussion for an upcoming post.