The first “Gardening Lesson” post, which introduces this series, can be found here.
When I was a little girl, I spent a few days at my grandma’s house every summer. I had fun walking with her TOPS pals, going to work with her cleaning other people’s houses in big fancy neighborhoods, spending an afternoon cleaning her spoon collection, going through old photographs, eating grilled cheese, and drinking her special sweetened mint tea.
We would also weed her flower beds.
Notice that I did not list this under the things I “had fun” doing with Grandma. You see, for the life of me, I could not figure out what were weeds and what were flowers or how Grandma knew which ones to pull up. “This is a weed,” she would say and point to this one. “This is a flower,” she’d say and point to that one. “See?”
No, I did not see.
Fast forward twenty years into the future, to last weekend, when I found myself standing at the edge of our church’s community garden beside a friend from Sunday school. We were waiting on mulch to be delivered or something like that, so we were just chatting, taking a brief break. As I looked down at the row of onions in front of me, I decided I was actually wasting perfectly good weeding time. So I knelt down, continuing the conversation, as I started pulling out the grass and other weeds.
“How do you know what’s what?” my friend asked me, squatting down beside me.
I looked at him, a little confused. “Well, this is an onion over here.” I pointed to an onion. “That’s just grass over there.” I pointed to the grass.
“It’s kind of hard to tell,” he said.
“Yeah, I guess it is,” I said, after a pause. But I really didn’t think it was. The onion looked like onion. The weed looked like weed. The grass looked like grass.
It only took me twenty years.
And this brings me to the first lesson of gardening:
Don’t be discouraged when it’s hard to tell the difference between a flower and a weed. Only continued work at distinguishing between the two can make us better at it. Along the way, you might pull some flowers. You might leave some weeds. And that’s okay.
Now go work on some life application.