The Tenacity of Weeds

Those of you who know me, know I love to garden. My husband and I have a huge (in my opinion) garden that is about 144 square feet on which we grow mostly berries, vegetables, and a lot of weeds. The primary weed being mint. Mint is a weed that just will not die. If you've never grown mint, I can not advise against it highly enough. We planted mint INSIDE OF A POT and put the pot into the ground, thinking this would contain it and keep it from spreading. We were so very, badly wrong. It broke through the pot and has been taking over our garden relentlessly ever since. Recently I've been getting our garden ready for fall, and even though I truly hate this awful weed, I can't help but admire its tenacity. Like all weeds, if you leave the tiniest piece of a mint's root behind in the ground (and you better believe that it will leave some of itself in the dirt), it will come back. Repeatedly. Forever. That's what defines a weed, I think; its resilience. The fact that it takes so much effort to kill it. Some plants (like peonies!) are fair-weather friends. If the soil isn't just right or it's too shady or if you just don't dote on them enough, just decide not to perform. They get diseases, succumb to critters and pests, they wither, and give up. But not weeds. They don't give up.

When I look back at the times in my life where I've amazed myself, where I've done things I didn't think I could do, each one of them I owe to tenacity. The going got tough, and I didn't (or couldn't) just get going. When I was in labor with my second child, I pushed for what felt like an eternity. I remember looking up at my husband with watery bloodshot eyes and said, "I don't think I can do this anymore." and just at that moment, a new nurse arrived. There had been a shift change, and my old nurse was gone and this new one walked in just as i was throwing in the towel. And she said to me these words that I will never forget: "Honey, you ain't leavin' here pregnant." And I knew she was right. Come hell or high water, this baby had to come out. And I was the only one who could do it. And thank the Lord, that wonderful new nurse somehow could tell right away what the other nurse did not; that the baby needed to be turned (he was stuck face up) and after that I did manage to summon the strength finally deliver my baby boy. I was never more exhausted IN MY LIFE as I was when I was pushing him. I had nothing left, yet I kept going.

I had nothing left, yet I kept going.

There have been other times in my life that were like that, where I wanted desperately to quit, but couldn't, or wouldn't. I reached out to God and my loved ones and with their help managed to finish the task I needed to finish. And as a reward, amazing fruits were born because of my tenacity. Unfortunately, there have also been times in my life where I quit too soon, and I have to live with the regret of knowing I didn't give it my all. I didn't lay it all on the table. I didn't work until I could no longer work. Mother Angelica once said, "I am not afraid to fail. I'm scared to death of dying and having the Lord say to me, 'This is what you might have done, if you had trusted Me more.'" OUCH. Did that hit you like a ton of bricks, like it did me? What would we do, create, make happen--if we didn't give up? If we trusted God to provide what we needed to finish the race?

One of my favorite verses, Isaiah 40:31 "But those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint."

When have I been more like a delicate flower, shriveling up when it gets too dry for my liking, or like a tomato that up and dies when there's a late frost? And when, can I honestly say, was I like a weed? A mint plant that had has had almost all of her ripped out, leaving just the tiniest root behind, trusting that despite the winter cold or the dryest heat, that God would provide me with what I need to pop a shoot back to the soil's surface and put out some leaves and give it another go? To everything, there is a season, and yes, there is a time for walking away. It takes a lot of prayer and discernment to decide when that time has come. But when you want something, when you're called to something, when people depend on you, be a weed. Just keep coming back. Just keep trusting that there's enough left in you to rise every single time that you fall. I believe there's a saying in poker that all you need is a chip and a chair. What's the bare minimum a person needs to bounce back in your business, or in the situation in your life that you are tempted to quit? What's the lowest, rock-bottom-est, sliver-of-a-mint-root point that you can go to and still recover? Still bounce back? Still make it? Are you there yet? I bet you're not. I bet you've got more than that left in you still. And THAT tiny piece, combined with your belief, effort, and tenacity, plus God's providence and grace, and the support of your loved ones, will bring you back. And in no time, you'll be the biggest freaking bush of mint the world has ever seen.

Embrace your inner weed. xo, Erin PS-Never. Ever. Plant mint in your garden. Please.

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