The Best Weed I Can Be
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.
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.
Who Says Laymen Can't Write Sermons?
- Mary Magdalene, Untethered
Why do we banish, shun, or loathe certain individuals or groups? In mankind's history, it is especially significant that society's moral majority--claiming to be followers of Christ--turn out to be the greatest perpetrators of disfranchisement?
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.
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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.