Do you see what I see?
I wasn't even weeding at the time. I was picking peas when I saw it. My eyes picked up an anomaly peripherally, like the old Sesame Street jingle - 'one of these things just doesn't belong here/ three of these things are kind of the same'. Something was amiss in the state of Denmark - and I almost missed it.
In order to fully appreciate this situation, you need to know something about me as a weeder - I am pretty much anal where weeds are concerned. I weed compulsively. I consider each weed a personal affront, a direct attack on my security. My military ops are swift and deadly - very few escape me.
So to see this giant warrior of a 3-foot tall specimen hiding in my corn took me aback. How did this little weed go such a long way unnoticed?
I regularly scan the black empty spaces, the patches of dirt between rows of veggies. Weeds don't have much chance hiding in the open like that. I pounce on them mercilessly when they are teeny weeny, so they rarely have the chance to grow into full-grown monsters.
But this one did. Why?
It was growing too close to home...
The more I thought about this oddity, the more I could feel a life lesson coming on.
Isn't it easy to point out the little faults in those around us? That co-worker who talks too loud. The way your spouse slurps his soup. The way your son leaves his breakfast crumbs for you to clean up. The wife who chews her fingernails. Weeds, all of them - teeny weeny ones, growing in the blackest soil patches of our lives, where faults are shockingly easy to pick out.
But what of the 3-foot giants hiding in the corn patch, close to our hearts where we can't see them for the trees? When a little weed goes a long way, it complicates things. Clouds the issue at hand. Becomes a serious blind-spot. The subtleties of our own personal choices make these the hardest to recognize. No wonder they can take root and grow to deadly proportions.
This advice of Jesus is recorded in both Matthew and Luke. Double-whammy. Truth bears repeating, friend. And this is a truth that could have radical consequences in our relationships and personal growth.
Before we harp on the little weeds in our neighbour's row of carrots, we need to fight our personal battles. Open our eyes to what is going on right under our own noses. Be receptive enough to recognize that we, too, have weeds of our own. The compassion and understanding that we crave in others' dealings with us needs to be a two-way street.
Don't let a little weed go a long way in your own life, while resenting the wee ones of others.
If you'll excuse me, I have to find a hoe.
A big one.