Sitting at the Portland airport earlier this month, I had close to 3 hours to sip coffee and do some reflecting. A girl can only chat with the airport piano player for so long until he stops receiving tips and ditches her…
I have had a strong sense for many months that 2009 was going to be a life-changing year for me. The sunny Oregon sky mixed with the sweet melodies of the Piano Man set a great tone for me to pull out my notebook and process these thoughts that have been dancing through my mind. (dancing to Enrique Iglesias, no doubt)…
One of my favorite characteristics about Jesus was his story-telling abilities…the way he engages not only the intellects, but the soul-searchers as well. On the sandy beaches in the Middle East, he told a tale of a farmer who tossed out a handful of seeds. Some seeds fell on the road…that was no good, because a big flock of greedy birds came and snatched them up. Other seeds fell into gravel, which was awesome for like, one day, till they died because they had no roots. Other seeds fell on great soil, grew and produced a mega-harvest.
Yet there was one other place some seeds fell. This place had all that a green-thumb could ask for…sunlight, soil, rain, probably some nice cattle manure…however, these little seeds didn’t make it. (gasp!) I know, poor little guys, huh? They had all the makings to be great, beautiful, and successful in the world of botany, so what went wrong? Weeds. They were killed by weeds.
The piano man played on as I looked up from my journal. Why do I try and ADD virtues, habits, and behaviors to my life? I make it my goal to add more joy, be a better encourager, be more patient, give more money, say kinder words …That is how I view growth. Isn’t growth “positive additions” to our lives? I looked back down to my journal at my little seedling friends and suddenly thought not.
I am beginning to sense that “growth” is as much taking away as it is adding. All the sunlight, manure, and rain in the world could not have caused more growth in those seeds. They were amazing plants for a moment…only to die tragically from what could have been a simple solution. Pulling the weeds. The weeds that choked out all of their beautiful potential.
I’m no gardener, yet this year I’ve put on my work gloves, SPF 15, and knee pads (I’m cool like that) and have begun to dig some weeds out of my soil. Who knew that growth was not all about adding more of the good stuff, but instead, just pulling out some of the bad? Who knew?
Oh yeah. I guess Jesus knew. (he’s cool like that)