Thursday, May 31, 2007


I found it. The root of bitterness. Not that I had been searching for it, but I did happen to find it. And whaddya know? It grows in a flower bed in my front yard! Who knew? Worse than that, it has many friends. All growing in my yard. Imagine.

I found the nasty little thing on Sunday afternoon. Joshua and Thomas and Sarah Grace were working in the back yard, Elizabeth was lazily snoozing in her swing, and I decided it was high time to start on my TO DO list for the front yard. At the top of that list was weeding and culling out some of the mass of flora that grows out there. I don't know what most of it is, but whoever put it there laid it in way to thick and it just winds up being a mess of green. Don't get me wrong, I love flowers and beautiful yards. I do not, however, have any affections towards keeping a beautiful yard. In fact, left to my own vices, a yard would simply just grow whatever seeds landed in it. Plant me way out where 'curb appeal' has no meaning. I have not even taken the time to learn from my mom and mom-in-law, who both have gorgeous flowerbeds scattered about their yards, the ins and outs of looking after flowers. I simply do not enjoy it. Or maybe I would if I had any inkling as to what I was doing. But I don't, and right now it is just not at the top of my priority list. Not even in the top half. Actually, towards the end of the bottom half.

All that aside, I donned a pair of work gloves and ransacked the garage for a trowel. A trowel that I came by at a yard sale. Not that I was buying the trowel, but it just happened to be in a basket I had discovered and the lady would not take the trowel back. In fact, she threw in an ice cream scoop, too. Good thing, actually, that ice cream scoop. We didn't have one. But, I digress. The trowel. In the garage. Maybe, maybe not. I couldn't find it. I opted for the hammer in it's place, thinking it's non-hammer head end (what is that called anyway?) could moonlight as a trowel. Then I made my way outside for my first real go at lawn care. Aside from occasionally helping with the mowing or snatching an obvious weed from here or there. I started off pretty daintily, a bit afraid of hurting the flowers, or worse, running into a spider. Ew.

I soon found that flowers are not as delicate as they try to appear. Soon, I was jerking the things out from the base, and using my 'trowel' to dig up their roots. Bulbs. And some of the bulbs strongly resembled the spiders I was still watching out for. I can't explain them any better than that, they just looked like spiders.

I should insert here that Joshua and I had talked a little about what to do with these beds and we agreed that they needed to be thinned out. And thinning, I was.

I pulled and I jerked and I yanked and I dug with my would be trowel. And I wondered why there had been so many flowers dropped in this tiny little area. (about 3 feet by 3 feet) And in the midst of it, I found myself invigorated. Maybe it was simply the act of being active. Of course, you know I can't have been enjoying myself. I don't like gardening. But I did feel a certain amount of pride. I was cleaning up and cleaning out and making things look all neat and orderly.

And I was being wonderfully destructive.

Then I started having trouble. Those roots were getting deeper, harder to get out of the ground. Harder to clean out. Harder to deal with, and frankly, I was starting to wear out. My hands were tired of gripping and ripping. And yet, there was so much work to be done to truly make this area clean. It was looking more and more tempting to just leave things ugly, the way they were. Was it really worth all of this? I was getting frustrated and tired and there was so much work to be done.

Bitterness began to set in. Why did I start this mess anyway? A nice little brush fire would have taken care of the whole thing. It might have harmed the house in the process, but that was just a minor detail. It's funny the way the mind starts working when you are frustrated. Thoughts first turn to the easy way out, often rejecting the sane and safe and right in favor of the easy and destructive wrong.

I worked and I dug and I pulled and I huffed and I puffed and the roots and bulbs just kept coming. The harder I worked, the more satisfaction I derived from pulling out those nasty little boogers. And then I couldn't find any more.

Hooray! Could it be? Was I done? I have no idea. I am sure there are still some lurking in the ground, but if I am diligent and watchful, I can nip them in the bud (literally) when they start to poke their little green heads through the ground.

There is an amazing parallel here. Those roots that were so hard to pull up are, of course, sin. These roots get in our heart and intertwine and creep and breed in all the little dark places. It is by far harder to get these roots (sins) out of our hearts. Much easier to ignore them and let them stay put. It hurts to change our mindsets and our ways, and we grow tired of the strain of constantly monitoring our thoughts and actions in an effort to be more like Christ ( an impossible goal to attain, but one we should seek to gain daily). But, if we are watchful and careful, we can catch them and snip them off before they rear their ugly heads. It is a never ending cycle, but the rewards of a neat and clean flower bed for good things to bloom in is so worth it.

'Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.'
Colossians 2:7


Anonymous said...



Clark and Laura Forman said...

ahh...such wise words Aubrey! Thanks so much for the reminder to continually be on the watch for sin in our lives and to keep pulling those weeds called sin. It is a never-ending process it seems! But yet, how much more wonderful to be more like Him as we do so :) I love you friend and so thankful for you!!

Lora Lynn said...

i'm so glad i'm your friend. otherwise, i'd be the only person i knew who could get so aggravated at yard work and then turn it into a blog post. :-)

Paul said...

I love that analogy! I'm reminded of a time soon after moving into our house. I wanted to pick blackberries, but the weeds got in the way. I ended up spending all my time pulling weeds instead of getting to the fruit. Yes, I "pulled weeds" (attacked the sin), but I forgot about picking the fruit (spending time with God an reveling in His love).

Thank you very much!

Aubrey said...

I know it is not an original analogy, but it is much clearer to me now that I have done the yard work how similar they are. Know what I mean?