Daily Reflection
July 27th, 1999
Susan Merrick
Student, Christian Spirituality Program
Exodus 33:7-11; 34:5b-9, 28
Matthew 13:35-43
One of the things I have always loved about summer was camping.  It was the type of vacation my family could afford, so that is what we did every summer.  There was something about the smell of the canvas tent and sitting in there alone with my thoughts, surrounded by nature, that was sacred to me.  I find it interesting, that in that particular setting one does not distinguish between plants and weeds (except for maybe poison ivy), but rather appreciates the whole of nature in its splendor.

One of the things I disliked about summer was pulling weeds.  Everyday, my mom made us do fifteen minutes of weeding in the yard.  I would go out and make a half hearted attempt to clear my section of the yard, waiting impatiently for the fifteen minutes to be up.  My mother’s words of “make sure you get the roots out, or they’ll just grow back” created the sense of guilt I had from my own laziness, as I would just pull the tops in an effort to be done with the chore,  As I impatiently pulled away waiting for her to say “time is up”, it was rare that I ever pulled the weeds up roots and all despite the tremendous guilt I had laid upon myself.

As I have matured in life, I have tried various ways of eradicating the guilt in my life.  My first attempts were through the experience of prayer I had learned as a child.  That wasn’t working, so I tried various other
means.  One of these was meditation.  It might have been the garden image that attracted me to the guided meditation at a retreat I attended.  It gave me a vehicle to relate to my interior landscape.  At first all I saw was the beauty of my garden, then through deeper exploration, the weeds began to appear.  I started pulling the weeds, but it wasn’t until I started pulling down deep to the roots, and trying to throw them into the fire to eradicate them, that I felt my own weeping and gnashing of teeth, through painful experiences that would come up in my life on a regular basis.

It was on an eight-day retreat, as I walked along the road next to a field, picking “weeds” to create a flower arrangement to brighten my room, that I recognized the flower within the weed.  As a result of that change in my perspective, my own internal landscape was radically changed.  Now I am learning to cultivate my interior garden from this new perspective, weeds and all.  Rather than trying to eradicate the weeds, I have begun to
cultivate a relationship between the weeds and the plants, so that one does not overtake the other, and the garden can continue to flourish.  I am learning to see my own garden the way I saw God’s garden when I was a camper in a tent... 

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