Today, we worked outside. The sun played peekaboo. The wind blew. Clouds collected in the sky. We dug, pulled weeds, watered and generally cleaned up the front yard. We contained Ruby, Jonathon and I.
I concentrated my efforts on weeding out the roses lining the large picture window on the side of the house. We have yucca plants that volunteer everywhere. Those had to go, too. Sometimes I grit my teeth about them. I wonder about the former owner. What were they thinking when they planted this viral plant?! They pop up everywhere. The hostas, growing at the base of the rose bushes, get to stay. The dandelions like to insert themselves right next to the rose bushes, making them hard to yank out. I carefully screened each bush, looking for interlopers.
The sun warmed my back. I bent over stiffly, stretching out my hamstrings. Dirt gathered under my nails. I felt a sense of accomplishment as I finished.
I’ve written about pulling weeds before, long ago. To add to my grandiose gardening renovation, I tackled the ivy twining around the lavender bushes out front. Lavender grows well here. We have sandy, rock-filled soil. It’s ideal for drainage. The lavender we planted two springs ago now dominates its cement planter area.
But the ivy, bright and green, wound its tentacles around the lavender’s branches. It threatened to suffocate the plant. Ivy is a parasite. It takes from its host in order to ensure its survival. It steals water. It sucks up vital nutrients. Full of sass, it points its glossy leaves right into the sunshine the other plant needs.
I ripped out the ivy with extreme prejudice. I carefully unwound the green vines from the spiky gray branches. Ivy has a tenacious nature. It stays alive, ready to re-root itself, for at least a day once plucked from the earth. You have to set it aside and let it dry out. I tossed each near-lifeless vine onto the ground. A growing pile mounted at my feet.
At last, I cleared the bush. I will need to watch this bush, and the one on the other side, all summer. Ivy is sneaky. It slips right in, underneath the good plant. The best plan is to catch it before it gets rooted in too deep an takes over the universe.
It made me think of our thoughts and attitudes. We might start out well, a big beautiful plant full of possibility, drinking up the light of life. One day, we find ourselves bogged down with bitterness. Somebody – or somebodies – did us wrong, big time. We struggle against the bonds we unknowingly allowed to entangle us. The poisonous ivy of resentment chokes out our joy. We become more and more isolated, cut off from the true Source of health.
It is then that we must allow the Master Gardener to come in and strip us clean. He shows us where we’ve allowed sin into our heart. We play a part in surrendering our unforgiveness and bitterness. He cleans us up and allows us to receive His light again, to be in fellowship with the Father. He waits for us. Personal pruning is always in season. The fragrant lavender of our lives will win out if we let it.