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The Best Weed I Can Be

Updated on March 26, 2013
A Living Sermon I Encountered on a Hot August Morning En Route to Church, Walla Walla, Washington
A Living Sermon I Encountered on a Hot August Morning En Route to Church, Walla Walla, Washington | Source

The Walk

The facts are simple enough.

My wife works every other weekend. My daughter sleeps in late, only to emerge from her cocoon of slumber as a social butterfly.

Since we're a two-car family, and since I absolutely need and don't mind the exercise, I defer graciously to these lovely women and walk to church.

As exemplified in my voluminous writing, I liberally ramble and rationalize, making me a terrible candidate for a staccato-paced therapy group but great if you need someone who can spontaneously create word pictures to keep your youngsters in the backseat from committing mayhem on each other during a long road trip.

Case in point:

  • Walking to church excuses me from having to be at the pre-worship part that is more often than not the longest hour and a half of my week.
  • Who wants to wear a stuffy white shirt with a collar that pinches my neck and a tie that I can never seem to assemble the first time I try? Walking to church justifies my very comfortable attire of aloha shirt, white or khaki Dockers, and easy loafers or tennis shoes.
  • My walk to church takes me past this cool coffee shop that is decorated with firefighter gear, and I get a new hole poked on my punch card whenever I purchase the drink of the day. After 10 punches--the equivalent of 20 weeks and $20+--I get a FREE DRINK! Yeehaw!
  • Because I've now been a member of the HubPages community for six months, I have an official--if invisible--It's Okay to Loiter Because I'm OCD About Hubbing! press card. I use this card liberally as I meander here and there on my walk...yep, just like the dog you walked this morning. Oh, I hasten to add that I don't mark my territory in the same way your canine does. I infuse my environment with imagination, not liquids.
  • A little over 3 miles and an hour or so after leaving home, and after having gulped down the sixteen ounces of java delight (hey, I need something to keep me from nodding off in church, right?), I'm feeling like a big dog in need of a big release...and that only serves to while away a few more minutes of Bible study attendance.

The Voice

Let's unwind this Hub by a few hundred yards. I wanted you to get into my head with the above paragraphs. But now, for the meat of the matter, we need to return to the walk. And as you read on, dear reader, glance at the photo above every now and then, just so we're clear on our reference point.

On this particular hot August morning, with the temperature already flirting with triple digits just prior to 10 AM handing the relay baton over to 11, I've just crossed Rose Street, headed north, and by so doing, formally traversed the invisible boundary between College Place and Walla Walla. The next half mile or so is perhaps the most enjoyable part of my walk. Along this beautiful stretch, there is a wonderfully constructed pathway, complete with walls that look like 8-foot-square concrete trivets linked together for the length of a country block or two. These roadside boundaries showcase intricate yet subtle patterns, ingenuously camouflaging any potential for the fences to appear obtrusive in their rustic environment.

In the back of my mind, I sense rather than hear this voice suggesting that I Stop.

And so I do...right in front of a stand of shrubbery neatly transplanted to that spot, I'm guessing, by the Walla Walla Parks and Recreation crew. Or, better yet, maybe by a group of inmates from the local city jail. (The state penitentiary, by the way, is only a couple of miles away to the north, but I doubt that work crews from that institution are allowed out in the community anymore...a shame, perhaps, because busy hands and penitent hearts go hand in hand.)

I am compelled at that moment to reach for my iPhone and capture this scene. My conscious mind is all about, This might work for a future article . The voice from within the very core of me suggests a deeper cause for reflection.

And instantly I see it.

It's my reflection.

The vegetation I'm looking at is God's mirror.

I'm looking at myself.

The Sermon

They're just weeds.

Objectively, and while living in that I'm so busy that I only have time for a cursory glance kind of existence most of us have grown accustomed to, that's what I see at first.

But that inner voice challenges me...no, pushes me...to look closer.

These may be weeds, but they're thriving. From whatever arid desert or forlorn Blue Mountains foothill they were plucked from, they now have been relocated to this very spot to serve a higher purpose. In symphony with each other, they congregate--thistles; knapweeds; evergolds; sweet flags; rushes; feather grasses; sedges, and other exiles. No longer nemeses to the new inhabitants of the land, they've been given back the innate value of their original birthright. They're once again viewed in the appropriate light of that genesis garden. They have renewed purpose. They have meaning. They have worth. They make a positive difference.

A friendly breeze chooses that moment of reflection to sweep through the Walla Walla Valley and kiss the Karl Foersters before me. I watch as the tall plumes dance in ecstasy and imagine what it might be like to have an aerial view of miles and miles of these majestic weeds waving their tasseled crowns in concert with the southeast Washington winds. Would it not be pure and reverent joy to watch these golden ballerinas sway in synchronistic rhythm, simultaneously one giant broadstroke of the Master's brush?

I stand there, reveling in the possibilities.

I know firsthand what it's like to have been called a weed. To be cast aside. To be stepped upon. To be discarded. To be disenfranchised.

All the while bearing the ache of a silent primal scream--NO, DAMMIT! I AM WORTHY!

Maybe you, too, at some point in your life, to one degree or another, have known what it's like to have been a weed.

I'm here to tell you, It's okay.

After Church

The sermon in church that day had something to do with the prodigal sons (because even big brother was a prodigal son of sorts). I honestly don't remember the details of that sermon.

But in a funny/strange sort of way, it's all good. It all comes together when you're meant to receive a message. And He'll keep sending it my way, your way, our way until we get it. And He'll do it gently. And the cool thing is, He'll do it more often than not in a non-church setting. Just like He did a little over 2000 years ago.

Because that may be the only time we're not nodding off. Because that may be the only time we're open to listening.

When we're hurting. When we're hungry from the inside out...from way down deep in our soul.

So here's the real reason I walk to church every other weekend.

The very best sermons I have ever encountered in my life are the ones I experience in my walk. You can read that literally. You can read that figuratively. Either way, you get what I'm talking about.

The truth is--I'm a weed.

The hope is--I'm going to be the best weed I can be.

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  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @rajan jolly

    Hi, rajan! Thanks for acknowledging the sermons from the source, my friend! That was the key point!

    We don't have to wait until we're seated or lying prostrate in a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple to acknowledge that universal Voice speaking to us.

    I know you know this, rajan...that all of the beautiful Hubs you've created were streams whose genesis was at the foot of the Source.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your beautiful comment.

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    hawaiianodysseus, I love the spiritual connection of your walks and about getting sermons straight from the Source.

    Great hub, bro. Voted up and awesome.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you so much, Karen! Six months into what's gradually becoming an epic adventure here on HubPages, I'm noticing that in just about every waking activity, it's as if I have these HP eyeglasses on that signal me whenever potential Hubs are in the near vicinity. I know you can relate to this.

    Also, your intuitive hunch is correct--your Hub about walking inspired me to open my writer's eyes and do some real observing...transcending the physical benefits and waiting for that certain voice. And it came, big time!

    As far as how my mind works, LOL, ah, Karen, I'm still trying to figure it out myself. My body may be getting older, but it's like my mind got stuck at 35! My gray matter has incredible clarity and boundless energy. I have to take it for a walk every now and then so it can just frolic!

    I've said it before...I love the connections I'm developing on HP. With the early Hubs, I had to discover my own unique voice. That early period involved writing that seemed like I was talking to myself. Now, as I sit at my laptop at home or in a coffee shop somewhere (at some point, before it gets too cold, I'm "setting up office" under an apricot tree in my backyard where I can write a few articles), I have Karen, benisan, wetnosedogs, Georgie, Tom, and a host of other superb writers listening, sharing, and connecting. I am truly blessed by all of you.

    Essentially, we support, encourage, and challenge our fellow Hubbers, and the improvement in our writing moves like the best kind of epidemic through cyberspace. Thank you again for the camaraderie and teamwork.

  • Karen Hellier profile image

    Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

    Wow, amazing. Not only the story you tell about the weeds, but the prelude about your walk. I love how you shared with the readers the reasons why you walk to church. This hub was like reading 2 very enjoyable hubs in one...1 that tells the anecdotes about why you walk to church, and the other about the message you received on this particular day. Very interesting and entertaining. I love how your mind works!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @Ka'imi'loa

    Ho, man, I love Tom Selleck! Ha-ha! The guy was cool because he was handsome and everything but didn't mind coming across like a bumbling fool at times. Plus, with a partnah like Higgins, how can you go wrong?

    Thank you for the sweet aloha and prayers for my daughter. I'm grateful that my wife and I will be able to Skype with her often. We wrote happy birthday love letters last night to her and were both crying. : ) Yep, goonna miss her alright!

    This Hub comment window is jumping up and down like crazy, making it hard to see what I'm typing. Throwing big time hint at me to stop. So I pau for now. Talk to you later, bruddah!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @kashmir56

    Hi, Tom! Actually, I'm the only one who walks to church. I apologize for not making that clearer. My wife takes one car to work; my daughter uses the other car to visit her friends. I'm in dire need of exercise, so I walk. Today was great--it was a moderate 69 degrees with lots of sun, and I made it to church (and stopped for a coffee before I got there) in 63 minutes.

    Walking is great for the soul! I love it! I'm starting my physical fitness comeback...that is, I'll start, and then I'll wait until tomorrow to come back for more. At my age, it's all about moderation, right?

    Thanks again for stopping by! Always good to hear from you!

  • benisan85745 profile image

    Ka'imi'loa 4 years ago from Tucson, AZ.

    Ho, Uncle, I get visions of "the Mahu in the Ferrari",(Magnum P.I.) when you talk about khaki-Aloha shirt apparel...a photo I must see.

    Come this Wednesday, I shall be praying for the babygirl off on her journey into the unknown. I'm sure she'll be fine, and I hope she is an instrument that will make a difference in the lives of the people she'll be with. Sad yeah, the baby leaving, but eh Bu, all we can wish her is a "Pomaika`i" (good luck), and remember that you two are "Pilialoha"(bound in love).

    Give her a birthday blessing on behalf of my wife and I, and God Bless her on her voyage.

    Dear Lord, I'm working at the moment on my next Hub, and I have been receiving these cute Accolades for commenting. The joy I am getting from this experience in the HubPages world, is that it is exactly as any setting in the world....there are still clicks one can belong to if you are on their "level". As I have stated on a prior comment, I am not signed up for receiving payments for my Mana'o. I do this for joy and therapuetic purposes only.

    Anywhoose, brah, somehow, i'm gonna figure out how to send you my personal info so that we could communicate without having the Niele know yeah...ha-ha-ha!

    Shootz, spahk yous laterz bruddah!

    Ka'imi'loa

  • kashmir56 profile image

    Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

    Very interesting hub and and a great testimonial to one's faith . It is so nice to hear that you and your family walk to church,Awesome !

    Vote up and more !!!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @Ka'imi'loa

    Eh, howzit, brah!

    Man, I was worried about you. Didn't hear from you long time, it seemed! My wife gave me some info to share with you re: things that might help. Will get a paragraph or two together later when she can help me with the medical spellings and send it to you via a more personal channel.

    Regarding your beautiful comments--they're always a Hub unto themselves! Thank you so much, Ka'imi'loa, for sharing with me your spiritual walk. Guys like us with thick coconut heads need an extra hard whack to wake up, yeah?

    The spirit of acceptance brings peace, and I try to remember this in my assessment of others. My brother, Gerald, once told me that he finds value in every person he meets. I've since aspired to follow that path.

    Amazingly, I am typing these words just seconds before donning my aloha shirt, white Dockers, white tennis shoes, and heading out the door for (SDA) church. Talk to you later, brah! Thank you again...I know you've been having it really painful lately, and so I am very, very thankful whenever I hear from you. God be with you!

    PS My lovely daughter turned 20 today! I going miss her when she leaves for Cambodia on Wednesday. She looks forward everyday to reminding me that I am a weed! And she loves me in spite of it. Ha-ha!

  • benisan85745 profile image

    Ka'imi'loa 4 years ago from Tucson, AZ.

    That's it, get the Round Up.....all these damn "weeds" e'rwhere"!!

    That was a beautiful piece Uncle. I appreciate it when one isn't ashamed of their "walk" with Christ, its a difficult one isn't it.

    In anycase, weeds we may be in the eyes of those that wish to look upon us as such, what matters is how the LORD views you. Uncle, what I had become, and the things I chose to do in my adolocent (spell check) years, added to the fact that on a frightful evening in February of 2001, I literally stopped dead in my tracks, pulled over to the side of I-10 West freeway Louisiana, and dropped to my knees in prayer. My world had finally become to heavy for me to carry.

    In life I had tried everything except Jesus. My now new wife, had always pleaded with me to come to Christ, before He came to me. I have never regretted doing so, and I only wish I could bring others to Him, but then I remind myself, that is their "walk".

    Those moments you spend time reflecting and walking to church, is almost overkill, because you already had church in your walk. Congregating with many in a building is fine, sing a couple of songs, shake some hands, and enjoy the overrated IHOP breakfast. The best church is conducted in one's heart in private, one on one with Him.

    I am glad to know that we are also brothers in Christ Uncle,and you killed me with the song from Casting Crowns, my wife favorite group hands down. For me, my signature Christian song is from an artist named: Todd Agnew, and his song, "Grace Like Rain".

    In the end, Uncle, its our actions that will change the views of many and perhaps bring a few to Him. Since I have become ill, I actually miss attending Calvary Chapel here in Tucson, a far cry from sitting on the beach in Ka'anapali and listening to the mornings teachings.....oh my Hawai'l Nei, I miss you. The other day I came across "These Islands" from Danny Couch, UGH, 'nuff sed!!!!

    Me Ke Aloha Pumehana to you and yours, and remember, you were once a weed, now you are a strand amongst the rest of the Mokihana that grow wildly on the slopes of Waialeale....

    Aloha Uncle

    Ka'imi'loa

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @wetnosedogs

    Oh, I love the pampas grass! I wonder where it originated from? The name suggests Argentina or somewhere else in South America.

    Thank you for your kind comments and for understanding the spiritual core of this Hub.

    Have a great weekend!

  • wetnosedogs profile image

    wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

    Awesome hub, Hawaii. And I love that weed. Finally planted a surviving pampus grass in the front yard. (my dogs playfully destroyed two baby pampus growing in the back yard.)

    I like how you strung in the Christian side.

    Sharing this.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @howlermunkey

    To every thing there is a season, and time to every purpose under heaven...

    His timing is everything, isn't it? I am really touched that I could be used as a vessel through which an important message of love that you needed at just the right time could come your way. Like my new Hawaiian friend, brother, and Hubber, Ka'imi'loa, would attest to, none of this happens by accident.

    You've blessed me with your writing; I'm grateful I can be used to do the same for you. I pray that whatever pain you may experience, that you will someday be able to say, "Ah...THAT'S why I had to go through that..."

    Peace and blessings!

  • howlermunkey profile image

    Jeff Boettner 4 years ago from Tampa, FL

    Wow. Really good timing on this hub for me, needing something at the moment. Curious enough, believe it or not, I was once called a "weed" myself , literally, by a Catholic priest. (true story- many years ago) Since then , every once and a while I will ponder what it means to be a weed, I think I even asked a question here on hubpages a while back. Cool hub, and you definitely struck a chord, Thanks for sharing this hub.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @ALUR

    Thank you for being the first to comment on this particular Hub. And, yes, I would love to read and comment on your writing as well.

    Nice to make your acquaintance, ALUR. I'll be stopping by for a visit later this evening. Aloha!

  • ALUR profile image

    ALUR 4 years ago from USA

    Love the theme, the point in case and the thoughts you expressed. I just wrote about the dandelion and often nature speaks volumes for my expression. The "walk" is the ideal time of worship in some ways speaking from the heart as we notice the things we often take for granted.

    You're welcome to read/rate my hubs as well:)

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