Many years ago for Mother’s Day my brother built a flower garden for my Mom. He was sort of the family gardener, and it was common for us to plant flowers for my Mom for Mother’s Day. The garden was usually his place to plant fruits and vegetables. We usually had a few big pumpkins, and I remember trying sweet corn one summer. It was his little corner of the yard. This was his senior year in college, so he decided to convert the vegetable garden to a flower garden for Mom. He knew it would probably be his last year doing the planting, so he wanted to leave her with something that would last.
He planted all perennials. He planned it out meticulously and worked hard at giving her a beautiful garden full of depth and color and variety. It was the most beautiful gift I have ever seen.
My Mom was a teacher at the time, and the next day at school she was telling all of her friends about the beautiful gift her son had given her. Most of her friends agreed that it was a beautiful gift. One co-worker (I’m not sure that they were really friends) only commented, “Well, who’s going to pull the weeds?”
Don’t you know people like that? Some people see the flowers. Some only see the weeds.
That garden is still beautiful. It has changed some over the years. Another friend gave my Mom a bird bath. There was a flower added that was her sister’s favorite. The maple tree in the corner has grown quite big. Each spring it comes back and the gift is renewed. I’m not sure my Mom has ever pulled a single weed from it.
Some people see the flowers in the garden. They enjoy the beauty in the world. They gaze at sunsets and marvel at the ocean. Some see grace and joy and love. Some appreciate their many blessings, and hope that somehow they can be a blessing to the world. Others see the weeds.
I don’t deny the weeds are there. I know that there is pain in the world. All of creation has fallen. I know that we have a lot of work to do as a people of God. There is injustice to fight and there are souls to save, but when presented between the choice to focus on the flowers or the weeds, I choose to rejoice in the flowers. When given the choice to focus on God’s grace or the Creation’s fall, I guess I choose to err on the side of grace.