“Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self—in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.” C.S. Lewis
I grow bonsai trees – little trimmed trees in little pots. Though I’m only an amateur, I confess I’m obsessed. I have juniper, adenium, cypress, spruce, crepe myrtle, sea grape, rain tree, acacia, box wood, ficus, mandarin orange, bougainvillea, buttonwood, fukien tea, podocarpus, joboticaba, calliandra, holly, escombron, aralia, elm, and a few others, whose names are escaping me.
As Spring approaches, they’ve needed some extra care – pruning, trimming, repotting, fertilizing, etc. But, the care I enjoy the least is the tedious work of weeding.
I don’t know where the weeds come from. I mix the soil myself. I keep them in a screened-in porch. How do they get in there?
Wherever their origin, they spring up suddenly, and in abundance! If I’m not careful to pay close attention, they can sprout up quickly, and become larger than the bonsai tree, itself!
Besides being unsightly (after all, with bonsai, aesthetics is the whole deal!), weeds can actually harm the tree. Since the trees are growing in small pots, without much soil, the weeds compete with the tree for water and soil nutrients. I actually have a tree in distress, because I hadn’t noticed some weeds that popped up out of nowhere, before they did their damage.
And, the job of weeding is so tedious. It’s critical to pull the weed out by the root, or the weed will grow back. But the weed’s roots tend to intertwine with the roots of the tree, making weed eradication a challenge. Weeding requires going slow and using tools to gently pull each individual weed. Even then, it’s impossible to get them all.
Weeds are a pretty good metaphor for my life. When I’m not paying attention, weeds can unexpectedly pop up, crowding into my life, sapping energy and vitality. Sometimes weeds are bad habits. Sometimes weeds are unhealthy emotions. Sometimes weeds are negative, self-defeating thoughts. Sometimes weeds are painful memories. Sometimes weeds are sin.
If I’m not careful, weed roots can grow deep, and entangle my soul.
So, I have to pull my metaphorical weeds too. And, I think the weeds growing in my soul are even more tedious and challenging, and sometimes more painful to pull, than the weeds growing with my bonsai. But, if I don’t pull them, they’ll just keep growing and growing and growing. They’ve got to go before that happens.
Pulled any weeds lately?