The Secret Garden

It’s been a few weeks, and we’re still moving in. Hills of boxes in the garage await opening when storage cabinets arrive. We keep purging – books, furniture, mementos. Empty, flattened boxes now outnumber the full ones, but we have forty-seven years of accumulation to prune. A few rooms look like home: our bedroom, living room and dining room. The rest are works-in-progress. My office is anywhere I can sit with a laptop. Right now, I’m at the kitchen table with a view of the yard.

Ah, the yard. It has all the bones in place, but there are extra layers everywhere – years of layers, in fact. But that just makes the work exciting! A yard crew uncovered a flagstone patio between two redwood trees! We discovered a struggling oriental maple tree hidden beneath the low hanging branches of another redwood. Three other oriental maples had to be rescued from an ivy and star-jasmine vines up that had grown up and around the trunks and into the branches.

I’ve spent hours in the yard, but it soon became clear I wouldn’t make headway by myself. (Rick is busy inside the house and garage.) Hence, I accepted the offer of help and hired three very hard-working landscapers. They did in one day what would have taken me weeks to accomplish. We removed dead oleanders, dead branches from over-grown pyracantha, volunteer privets and one dead birch tree, not to mention a hundred tiny olive trees that had sprouted beneath the mother tree.

Other outdoor projects have been on my list. Having eradicated (temporarily) crabgrass from vegetable boxes, I’m now pulling, pruning and digging out the invasive ivy. It was planted in several areas of the yard, front and back, and allowed to grow at its leisure. Anyone out there know how invasive ivy can be? Oh, my! What a lesson about sin and how it takes root and spreads and then takes dedication and concentration to remove it. I can’t just cut the vines that show. I have to go deeper and get to the roots or it will grow right back. We still have more to remove.

What I’ve also learned is what treasures have been hidden. We’ve uncovered six very large terracotta carved pots, numerous circles of aggregate concrete, and a flagstone walkway! Think of what sin hides: untapped talents, abilities, special gifts only God can give.

Jesus said to examine our lives. While removing crabgrass and ivy from our garden, I’m reminded to search myself for invasive and destructive sins. Like ivy, sin can so easily entangle us. Even a tiny remaining root hidden beneath the surface can send up destructive shoots that have the potential to wreck our lives. The good news is we can call upon the Lord to reveal the weeds and vines and ask for his wisdom and strength in removing them.