While working in the garden this past week, I realized why the Gospels are full of metaphors regarding weeds, tares, vines, fruit, sewing, reaping.. and generally getting your hands in the dirt. For this was the very stuff of day to day living for people at one time.
I had given the garden a nice long shower as it is no more acclimated to the heat than I am. When making my way through squash leaves to look for green beans, I realized this plant reminded me of those 1950s movies where radiation had hit plants and they grew to the size of a Buick. I knew what I had to do... I had to pull that plant out or everything around it was in jeopardy. Sigh...
As I walked across the lawn, pulling that bunch of vines behind me to the compost pile in the far corner of our property, I wondered if I had done the right thing. There were teeny tiny yellow squash on this plant. It was still producing. It looked great. Now it is compost fodder.
However, when I returned to the garden... I kid you not... it looked like the green beans, basil, lemon balm, and lemon thyme, and the cute purple striped eggplant... were raising their leaves toward heaven and drinking in the sunshine for the first time in a couple of weeks. Yes, I had done the right thing.
Then, being a pondering type person, I realized that is what God has done to me in the past. He removed perfectly good and fruitful "things" in my life to make room for what He had for me... replacing the good for the best. I felt just the same as when that vine was pulled out of the soil, gasp... cough... shudder.. I'm dying here, Lord! I'm bearing fruit! I need this "fill in the blanks" in my life.
It can be a job, or a house, or a person, or any number of things... all plucked away while I stomp my feet and mumble and complain and grumble and cry... all about what has been taken away. Sometimes it took years, others only weeks, to realize the "taking away" is the very thing that made room for growth of faith, or trust, or hope. There were also the times when He replaced that which had been torn away with something better.
There was the big stuff... job losses, houses, health. Other seasons have required giving up relatively small items (in relation to the big stuff) such as hundreds and hundreds of books as we downsized over the years. We still have seven bookshelves... six large and one tiny shelf which holds favorite fiction hubby has read through the years. We continue to find places for stacks of books here and there. But every once in awhile I think of a book long gone and miss it.
A couple times a year I go through the house and declutter... sending to charity boxes containing kitchen stuff, tea cups and saucers, silk flowers, knicky knacks, artwork, pillows, plates, clothing... and even books... generally those items I could part with (which were good) so our home will be comfortable and not cluttered (the best).
I was so inspired by the removal of the squash plant that I (ouch) also pulled out a pretty flower from the other garden bed, which had grown so large it was blocking the sun from the cherry tomato and green beans plants. Getting rid of the good for the best...
I'll start paying more attending to those parables in the Gospels. :)