Monday, June 9, 2014

Weeding My Spiritual Garden

We have planted a garden with the help of a local man named Tatah Edwin. We also have a few small fields of corn. It is not much, and it will not sustain our family by itself, but it helps. For most people in the States, gardening/farming is a hobby: it is nice to have your own fresh vegetables in season, but you still go to the supermarket every week. For most people here in Kumbo, your farm is your lifeline: you grow most of your food, and supplement with a few small things you buy in the market with your meager wages. 

Well, the hubbub of the end of school paired with a bout of procrastination and low motivation has resulted with our garden becoming neglected. We did not water the days that it did not rain, we did not pull weeds.  Today we went out there to try to salvage what we could.

(NB: I freely admit to being totally clueless regarding gardening. I just do what I'm told. But I'm learning...)

Some weeding is easy: the difference between lettuce and grass is clear. Other weeding is difficult: is this a weed, or the peppers coming up? And just what, exactly, do radishes look like above the ground? Is that an edible coco yam plant, or the coco yam that is a weed? Some of the weeds I pulled today had grown large and well-rooted, and were difficult to pull. Some came off at the stem, and the roots remain to sap away water and nutrients from the good stuff. It is difficult and tedious to get these big weeds out, whereas the small, little weeds are easily dealt with: a small tug and they are uprooted.

As I went about the garden pulling what I hope and pray were weeds and not peppers and radishes, I thought about my spiritual life, which is sometimes as neglected as our garden. The desire is there, for sure.  I want to grow and flourish and bear fruit, but sometimes I am just "too busy" to work the fields and fertilize and water and plant and weed in my spiritual farm. What a shame! My spiritual garden will not flourish, and what good is there will be small and good, but not abundant.

Retreats and holy days certainly go a long way to getting me going again in my spiritual life, just like this half-day blitz in the garden went a way to getting us back on track horticulturally. However, it is much better to give your soul the care and feeding, as well as watering and weeding, that it needs. Sin is a weed, and if you don't pluck it up early, it gets thick and rooted in habit. Really, it is God who does the "weeding" of sin, but God can only weed while I am open and willing to let myself be worked on. I need to spend time in prayer, God's best weeding time, and I need to let Grace water my soul, especially the Grace of the sacraments.

I will always have weeds in my garden, they are a fact of life. My choice is whether to allow them out of sloth and indifference, or to get busy on my knees. 


Max Gardening
Max planting seedlings for nursery

Pumpkin leaf and cabbage

Our garden - corn in background

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