After an incredible week with my team, I was told I needed to take the weekend and "not work" for a change. Honestly, it took me a while to figure out exactly what this meant for my schedule. For the first time in a while, I had a few days with no deadlines and several projects sitting on the back burner just waiting for me to take a look.
But "not work" was the instruction of the day, and I decided to follow it.
Instead of coding, I got up early on Saturday morning and spent some time in the garden instead. Seeing the marked change in my vegetables from last weekend to this was wonderful. The lettuce is just about ready to become a salad. The carrots are beginning to take off. The radishes - some were actually ready to eat! The garlic is growing like a weed. The tomatoes, though still small, are finally starting to come into their own.
And the weeds apparently realized I was out of town and started to multiply, too.
I spent half my Saturday morning on my hands and knees pulling up tiny weed seedlings to keep them from taking over my garden. I then turned my attention to the stone walkway and started pulling out other seedlings poking through the cracks.
Then I saw something remarkable. It seems a beautiful and small violet has taken root in between the stones in the center of my walkway. Not only that, it chose this weekend to bloom!
Unfortunately, it chose to make its home literally in the middle of the path between the back yard and the front. All foot traffic will pass over it. Every time I move the yard debris bin, it will be on that path. If you were going to be a flower and pick where to seed, this would be the worst possible location.
I tried my hardest to loosen the plant so I could move it, but the attempt completely destroyed what was a beautiful flower. If only it had planted itself somewhere else ...
Whenever I garden, I think back to some of the imagery around gardening in the Bible. One of God's first acts after creating the Earth was to plant a garden - and He created man specifically to help him tend that garden.
Jesus' parables often involve gardening. A gardener sows seeds only to have the enemy sow weeds among them in the night. Seeds fall on the path, among thorns, and on good soil. The Lord is a gardener who prunes the branches of a vine in order that they should produce fruit.
It's difficult to be working among creation and not think of the creator.
It's also difficult to miss the lesson behind a beautiful flower growing in the wrong location. The flower was, of course, perfect. It was straight, healthy, had at least three gorgeous blossoms on it, but it was dead center in the middle of a path. The exact wrong place for it to be in this particular garden.
I did everything I could do to relocate the flower, but its roots were deep and my attempts to move it to where it was supposed to be were painful - even to the point of death. Had the flower's seed just blown a few feet more ... Had the flower's roots been shallower and easier to relocate ...
How often are we like that flower? How often do we settle deep roots in the exact wrong location in God's garden? How often are we so resistant to his gentle guidance to the right location that we experience pain and destruction in our lives?
How often do we stand in the wrong city, the wrong college, the wrong job, the wrong relationships, the wrong habits and argue that God still loves us despite our resistance to go where He wants us to go? We could be the most beautiful flower in the garden, but growing up in the center of the path will lead only to pain as the Gardener, gentle as He is, tries to uproot us and put us where we belong.
The violet in my garden didn't make it. Will we?