Last week I watched my mom while she yanked away at a weed that intertwined itself around a bush she had planted many years ago. It was incredible to watch. She planted this beautiful bush so long ago and as time went on she became incapable of taking care of it because she just didn’t have the time.
At a glance the bush looked fine. It appeared to be about 8-9 feet tall and about 3 feet wide. It had so many different petals and vines moving in and around it. That day when my mom decided to really take a look at it it became clear that the seemingly large and healthy bush was under attack by this giant weed.
“It’s like it’s trying to choke the life out of it.” my mom said as she yanked at the weed. As vine after vine was removed we could finally see that the bush was merely 6 feet tall and certainly not as wide as the weed made it seem. It took a fight to discover this. The vine had thorns; its defense mechanism as it tried to prick my mom away, but she didn’t give up. She continued to yank and pull until most of the weed was gone.
The whole time I was watching her I was thinking to myself “My goodness if this isn’t a metaphor for life I don’t know what it is.” The bush was like a person (before the weed it was the largest bush of its kind in our yard, and yet it was the only one that had been attacked by a weed), it was once healthy, and strong and large. That weed saw its potential and strength so it went after it. It grounded itself in the bush’s center and allowed its branches to dance around the bush as it overcame it. The bush seemed strong, but it was vulnerable and weak. Since no one stopped to care for it, to remove the weed and save it, it continued to lose its identity. At a glance it looked like it was still the same bush, but deep down inside it wasn’t. It was being killed daily and its death would’ve continued if my mom didn’t stop to save it.
How many times do we look at people only to infer that they’re perfectly fine because they appear to be fine on the outside? Since they appear fine we walk by them day after day without ever really looking at them. Some are okay, but some aren’t. Some are dying on the inside. They have secrets and pains– giant weeds that choke the life out of them everyday. We merely assume that what we see on the outside– the imprints of the weed– are a representation of the person. It’s sad. These people continue to lose life, their identity and any potential they have unless someone is willing to dig deeper to see what has been wrapped so deeply in their roots.
I know that when people see and even interact with me regularly they generally see an awkward, hyper, 12-year-old living in a 20-year-olds body that’s often on a spiritual high. Those that know me well enough know that I have many weeds rooted deep inside of me that absolutely affect my day-to-day thoughts, habits and interactions. It’s by the grace of God that that handful has been able to dig deeper to see these weeds and help root them up a little at a time.