Today I tackled the garden. Well, that might be a tad exaggerated. What I actually did was trim back a few winter casualties, and vigorously rip out some of the wild garlic which is galloping across the border taking no prisoners as it at best disguises and at worst crushes the spring bulbs trying tentatively to make their way through to the light.
Our garden is (to put it in a very understated way) a challenge. When we took possession of the house, it needed 125 bags of garden waste to even uncover the garden. Every kind of enemy to a well cultivated garden was flourishing. There was a dilapidated shed which was a danger to life and limb. And it is on a slope, which gives you the feeling when you kneel to tackle it that you are on a ship in uneven waters.
So I continue to battle, to find the potential I desperately hope is still there, just waiting to be uncovered, loved into being. On days like today, I fear it is a losing battle and the wilderness will win.
But then I remember. I reflect back to what was, to the encroaching chaos, and look again. Yes, the finished article (if there ever is such a thing with a garden) is a long way off still. There is work to be done, some needing deep removal of long established roots, some more only requiring gentle replanting. But it is not as it once was, and sometimes I need to hold on to that rather than all that still needs to happen.
I think that it is like that as we seek to grow into the likeness of Jesus. I for one see in myself all the areas where deep-rooted change needs to take place. Sometimes I can see all too clearly how unlike him I look in so many ways . At other times, the need for healing is still painfully obvious as the past hinders the potential beauty of the present.
At those times too we need to remember, and to hold on to the reality that we are not as we once were. That, like my garden, there is colour and life amid the weeds, and the Master Gardener is still at work, gently removing the dross to uncover the loveliness that He has planted there.