It’s really embarrassing. I’m not pregnant, and I no longer have a brand-new baby. Therefore, I feel like there’s no excuse for the state of my landscaping. Just because we live in an old farmhouse doesn’t mean the garden has to be dilapidated too!

The other day, I was reveling in the hot summer sun and hanging out as much laundry as my sagging clothesline would hold, and I saw it. There. In the “garden,” camouflaged by lilac bushes and other legitimate plants. It was no longer even pretending to be anything other than what it was: a weed tree.

We live in the country, and maybe it has to do with the fertilizer plant down the road, or maybe it has to do with the sheer neglect in my garden in the last three years. Whatever the reason, the weed tree is almost as tall as I am. I noticed it because it was the perfect size for hanging my clothespin basket, and had been doing its duty well enough before I realized it was a weed. Imagine my embarrassment. Two brothers-in-law are landscapers, a third used to do that, and one of this crowd took so much pity on me that he did the front of the house earlier this year. Inspired? Yes, I was. I have been keeping the newly-mulched area spotless and have been asking God’s forgiveness for cussing his creation of poison ivy (which loves my yard and grows as a weed, much to allergic-to-it-a-mile-away hubby’s distress) as I gingerly pull it out and then dash to the house to rinse myself off (said hubby will catch it from me if I so much as touch the bed sheet with it).

That inspiration, however, could not be big enough for the rest of the gardens! Surely, the masochistic person who originally landscaped (oops, I think it might have been the oldest of the BIL’s), did not intend to refurbish these beds!

But then, what must God say when he sees me?! I mean, there is at least one “weed tree” in me, not the least of which has been my recent aversion to confession. Nope, you can’t make me. It’s just like riding my bike fast on the downhill to gather steam for the climb. I understand the theory perfectly, but putting it into practice takes practice. I’m a slow-and-steady plodder type. My hubby will be far in front, with Toddler-tron dangling off the back of his bike, kicking him to go faster, and there I am, lumbering along in low gear. I get there; it just won’t be quickly.

There’s the lack of charity I so often have, even if it’s only in my own head. Who am I to judge So-and-so for what they wear to Mass? At least they came! (Thanks, Penni, for the reminder!) Who am I to hold a grudge against someone who’s so overwhelmed at home that they can’t focus? Who am I to look beyond the boundaries of my own little world and try to remove anything from anyone else’s eyes?

The thing is, the weeds have a lot of advantages. They work their way in, whatever they are, and quietly become a part of the greenery. Then, before you know it, they’re reseeding themselves, multiplying into millions in a matter of moments. Snap your fingers and you have a weed tree on your hands. They block out what’s important; they turn my face away from my path to holiness; they distract completely. If I focus on rooting them out, using my own ingenuity and strength, I get dirt under my fingernails and a temporary fix. If I go Hitler on those bleeping weeds, and pull out the Chemical Solutions, I end up ingesting the bleeping stuff and killing the stuff I want. And in all this hustle and bustle with the weeds, am I succumbing to something else, something that also keeps me from that yellow brick road to holiness?

God’s graces, thankfully, far outnumber my inadequacies. Hmm, that sounds a bit wrong, but I think it’s right. Padre said to me just last week that grace is more like the air we breathe than like the blood in our bodies; we limit our understanding of grace by our attempts to measure it.

OK, God, I give you my weed trees, and I leave it to you to tear them out or decorate them. Thy will be done…