Sunday, 25 May 2014

Sin and Strawberries

I had some more flashes of insight this weekend while pulling wild strawberries out of the gravel in my Zen garden. In a fit of insanity a few years ago I encouraged the wild berries under my hedge to grow as a groundcover (and it really is very pretty, especially while it's in bloom). But I didn't realize how invasive the stuff is, and it is slowly taking over my garden. And I found, as I worked, that I could identify a lot of parallels between sin and weeds, weeding and repentance.

These are the random thoughts that came to me while weeding:
  • Even things that are right and attractive are wrong if they occur at the wrong time or place. Strawberries themselves are wonderful, but in my gravel garden they become weeds. There are lots of parallels with this - sex before marriage, for example, or eating late at night. The thing itself may be good but it has to be done "in wisdom and order."
  • If you leave a little sin (or strawberry) at the fringes, sooner or later it will invade your life, often before you realize it.
  • You have to get out the whole root and every little bit of the plant, or it will come back. No matter how attractive the sin might be, you have to eradicate it completely in order to get it out of your life. No leaving little pretty bits to look at once in a while.
  • Often when you yank out the big plant, you see little hidden weeds underneath. Sometimes you're so focused on getting rid of the big shiny obvious thing that you miss the more destructive things going on behind the scenes. When I pulled out the big strawberry plants, I often found sheltering beneath them tiny tendrils of the highly more invasive fern I was fighting last year in the garden.
  • It's easier to get something out when it's small, before it has taken root. If you wait until it is bigger, it's a lot more work to get rid of it. Better to repent right away than to let it fester and grow stronger.
These are obvious things, of course, but really came home to me as I sweated under the sun (gravel gardens get hot). From now on I will be more on guard and not let it get so bad. In fact, you could say from now on I will weed more religiously! :)

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