The vines were doing fine once they got to the trellis, climbing over 12 feet high by now and blooming every morning, but the bed itself was ankle high not only in morning glories but also moneywort, wood sorrel, snake root, castor beans, and purslane, among other colorfully named weeds, plus a little grass as well. I started with the previous day’s pie slice, amazed that so many of those rascals had once again sprung up overnight, but that was easily handled in about five minutes.
I learned some things as I spent the time kneeling in the damp grass. First, whenever you get down on their level, the dogs think you are ready to play. Instantly the two of them were at my elbows, tails wagging, inundating me with doggy breath, and grunting for my time and affection. So I gave them a few requisite pats, hugs, and praises as I meandered away from the bed before they could decide to throw themselves on their backs in the middle of it, begging for a belly rub.
Finally they were satisfied and I started pulling weeds in earnest. With my diminished vision I have to concentrate to see what I am doing. I finished up another slice and stood up to catch my breath and my equilibrium. When I looked back down I could hardly believe my eyes. I thought I just weeded that section, but no, all I had done was pull up the moneywort. The wood sorrel was still there, wiggling its little leaves at me in what I was sure was smug satisfaction. So I bent once again and pulled it all up. When I finished I sat back on my haunches and looked it over. Now I saw the snake root, not much of it to be sure, but it was odd that I had not seen it at all when it was by far the tallest weed in the bed.
Suddenly I made sense of it all. I had to focus so hard to see one thing I was blinding myself to the others. I looked for more of the taller plants and there were the rest of the snakeroots as if they were waving a flag at me saying, “Here we are!” Then I looked for the purslanes’ creeping red stems and shiny green leaves and there they were, ready for the pulling. Then the castor beans, and the cow vetch, and the grass—well, you get the point. You will only see what you are looking for.
Do you wonder why you cannot see your own faults? Maybe it is because you are focused on everyone else’s.
Do you wonder why you are so stressed about life? Maybe it is because you are too focused on it—on paying the bills, handling the schedules, dealing with work problems—and not focused on the things that really matter. Jesus tells us in more than one passage that focus on the wrong things can cost us our souls.
Are you so focused on your own problems that you cannot see the problems of others? Maybe that is why you are so down in the dumps all the time.
On the other hand, do you focus so much on your own failures that you cannot see your successes? Maybe you have grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years. You will never know it if all you do is tear yourself up over today’s failures. Guess what? Tomorrow morning I will have to pull a few more weeds from that morning glory bed, but I doubt it will take forty-five minutes. The fact that a few grew back does not mean I should never have bothered to pull them all in the first place.
Work on your focus today. Train yourself in what to look for. Make sure you are seeing the things you need to see, rather than the things you want to see. You will never reach a point where there are no weeds to pull, but you can totally eradicate some and make the others far less common.
For if these things (faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, love) are yours and abound, they make you to be neither idle nor unfruitful unto the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. Wherefore brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if you do these things, you shall never stumble, for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 1 Pet 1:8-11.