Each time I pass our kitchen window, or sit at the table nearby, I cringe and berate myself a little. I immediately want to stop whatever I’m doing, grab work gloves, go outside, and start digging.
The mulched, natural area in the furthest point of our yard once beautifully held a few bushes and flowers, crepe myrtles and a dwarf magnolia, two filled bird feeders, and a small mobile fire pit over which we occasionally roasted marshmallows. The purple irises bloomed this spring.
I used to appreciate the view from my window.
Today, the bird feeders hang empty, the fire pit is rusting, and the trees have become overgrown. A carpet of weeds has overtaken the mulch in what seems like only a matter of weeks. Once, by working with purpose and planning, weed pulling would have been a relatively easy task.
Now it will take hours, and/or several gallons of Roundup. (The experts say it’s too far gone for my natural salt-and-vinegar weed killing solution, which is disappointing. I am no fan of Roundup and glyphosate.)
I sigh, leave the window and, feeling defeated, return to what I’m doing.
Life feels weedy this week, too.
In one city alone, a young musician dies after being shot following her concert, a madman wielding an assault rifle slaughters 49 people at a night club, an alligator snatches and drowns a toddler playing in a resort lagoon. Political rhetoric arouses our emotions and divides us. Access to 24-hour news and information fuels our anger and our sense of helplessness.
So many weeds.
And then we confront the weeds closer to home, as we adjust to our life’s ups and downs, maneuver through change, fight our own personal battles. Close friends grieve as they watch loved ones fade and die. Others battle fear and uncertainty in relationships, jobs, finances.
We sigh, walk away from the window, and feel defeated. Again.
Pondering all of this, I took my dog out into the backyard yesterday afternoon. While he explored and worked through his plan, I surveyed our weeds a little more closely. Where to start? How to start? When to start?
And then I noticed a pop of color, begging for attention amid a forest of green. It surprised and delighted me.
At the same time that the annoying weeds grew, the wildflower sprouted and now offered the world three yellow and dark-brown blooms. I had been so focused on the weeds from my kitchen window that I hadn’t noticed the beauty beyond them.
Can you relate?
First responders and emergency teams save lives in Orlando. Communities rally around those who mourn. Friends reach out to check on each other and spend time together. We focus on our common humanity.
In a week full of pain and suffering, a million different kindnesses have sprouted. Even in suffering, even in pain, the beauty is there.
In every circumstance, if we adjust our focus, we can look beyond the weeds.
Can you see the beauty?
What weeds and what beauty have you experienced this week? How have you been able to see past the weeds? I’d love to hear your stories. Comment below, or join our free Faith and Sweat community on Facebook, where we continue the conversation.