Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Honeysuckle in My Life

In the past few years, honeysuckle has taken over the retaining wall at the back of our yard. I usually spend at least part of the spring/summer fighting it back. Last summer, several circumstances combined to keep me from my annual tackling of it, and it multiplied and spread with confidence. I kept meaning to get out there and clear it off in March, while it was still dead and easy to remove, but that never happened.

So, in May, when the new growth had taken over the dead vines from last year, and the whole mess threatened to creep even further into the yard, I started in on it all. It took me hours, and filled seven 50-gallon lawn bags, but in the end, I had gained several feet in our yard, and a clean, crisp look for the back wall.

I had every intention of putting down some weed killer, lawn fabric and spreading mulch in an attempt to keep this clean look on my back wall. But, life got in the way. I was sick. It was too rainy. Then it was too hot.

So, yesterday morning, when I looked out onto the backyard, I saw with disappointment that the honeysuckle was back. So, I dragged a yard waste can to the back and started in again. BigBro came by to see if I needed help, and pointed out that this was a lot of work. "Mom, you just did this a few weeks ago. Look at this mess again."

I did. I stopped and looked at it. Piles of vine on the ground, new shoots where I thought I had pulled at the roots. He was right. It was a mess.

But it really wasn't different from any other part of my life... external, or internal. The dirty laundry piles up in exactly the same way. The dishes, the dust, the crumbs on the floor. And so, I pointed out to BigBro, this is life... the willingness to tackle the messes as they continue to come up.

And not just the messes we see. The same things happen in my heart. Resentments rise where I thought I had offered forgiveness. Annoyances pile up. Anger shoots through despite my plucking at its roots. And here, too, I need to clean up the mess. I need to tackle the overgrowth before it takes over my life.

Success is not measured by the number of lawn bags I filled the first time I cleared the honeysuckle. No, the only measure of true success is my willingness to get out there again and again, to keep plucking at this invasive vine, every single time it tries to overtake my wall, my yard, my life.

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