I know, I know. It’s been a minute since my last post. Every once in a while, I think, “Maybe I’m done with this.” And maybe I am, but I was outside this week, praise the Lord, working in the yard, and this post kept eating at me. I keep telling myself that it is corny and predictable. Do not write this.
Maybe I am corny and predictable.
But hey, it is my birthday, so maybe you all will just indulge me.
When Matthew and I moved into the house we built on the hill in the woods, I quickly grew to love being outside in nature. I loved everything that grew… even things most people would consider weeds! Who gets to decide what is a weed anyway? I loved watching all the various things that came up during different times of the year. I protected it all. It became one of the main disagreements Matthew and I had. It pained me every time he decided that something needed to be chopped down or pulled up. Men do love to chop down things.
One of those things we disagreed upon was a green, leafy, viney thing that covered the forest floor and made it look oh so enchanted. Matthew worried about it taking over, but I was loath to cut it because it just gave the woods this… magical feel. He relented, and it stayed. You win some, you lose some.
By the end of last summer, as I ventured out into the woods, I noticed a problem. The vine was EVERYWHERE. From a distance it seemed fine, but on close up inspection, I thought, “Houston, we have a problem”. A very intricate network of vines lay across the forest floor. As I reached down to pull on vine, I soon discovered that what was visible to the naked eye was just the beginning. As I pulled, I saw that most of the vine snaked underground with branches that split off, taking the vine elsewhere. Some of those underground branches were the size of small tree trunks!
I quickly regretted leaving the vines to grow at will. Matthew had warned me, several times. I had told him it was fine. That I could handle it. Clearly, I could not. I spent hours upon hours that day pulling and cutting vines… and many days since. On the upside, it is a good arm workout.
This spring I have jumped on it. I have cut and pulled vines two days already. I have a mantra that I speak over them. “Not this year. Not this year”. But I know I am now fighting an uphill battle. I feel like one of those movie heroes sent to fight the million horrid monsters with no hope of getting them all, but fighting to try and live another day, anyway. I am formidable.
I told you this was a corny story.
I know that if I am not diligent, this stuff will eventually creep out of the forest and overtake my yard and my home. It is at the edge of the yard already. I’m not going to let that happen. If only I had listened a few years ago, it wouldn’t be this bad. If I had valued the words of the person who loves me and warned me there was trouble brewing. If I had only been willing to see that this stuff was bad medicine and needed to be dealt with. Perhaps this is what Bon Jovi was talking about.
Oh, come on… 1988? Top of the billboard charts? On their New Jersey album?
I see a life correlation here. This is the predictable part I was talking about earlier. I see that vine as sin, corruption, addiction, whatever. When it first shows up, it doesn’t seem harmful at all. We can handle it. We’ve got it under control. Look, it’s not even that bad. We kind of like it. But then someone who loves us steps in out of concern and warns us. We assure them all is well and we have everything under control… thank you very much. All the while, it is mounting an attack underground. It is gaining strength. It is out of our site and out of our control. Its network grows thicker and it gains ground continuously. One day, we finally take a look around and wonder what the heck has happened!? How did this get so bad? What am I going to do? This is about to overtake my life, my home, my family!
We make the decision to start fighting, but we better be ready to stand our ground. We better have our mantra ready. “Not this year! Not this day! Not this moment!” We are fighting an uphill battle now. It didn’t have to be this hard, but because we didn’t listen, because we were happier in denial, now the battle is a war.
I didn’t win my battle over the vine that first day I decided to start fighting it. I haven’t won the battle, still. But I am hacking away at it. I am mindful of it, and I know the enemy I am fighting now. I know what it looks like and how it works. I know what appears to be lovely on the surface is truly something sinister underneath. Armed with a hoe and a chopper tool thing, I am dangerous. And I will continue fighting.
Is there something growing deep down underneath that you need to give attention? Has someone who loves you warned you about it? Please don’t let it go. Please don’t be fooled into thinking it is harmless while right underneath the surface it is gaining ground. The possibility that it will overtake you is real. Learn your enemy. Fight the good fight. Do it for yourself and for those who love you.