My garden is a place of refuge- a place where my soul finds kindness and becomes restored by the countless reminders of G-d’s faithful commitment to life. It is a place where I can hear the voice of G-d- perhaps in a way that Adam may have originally heard it. Lessons of the heart abound. Today it was through morning glory-that insidiously choking weed that has a way of weaving its way through the undergrowth and up into the vegetable stocks. I can never completely get rid of it- I can only manage it through careful digging, pulling of the roots (which always seem to break off, leaving little suckers and rhizomes that proliferate with impunity). The rhizomes remind me of the hidden resentments and hatreds that abound in this world, surfacing at divers times to squeeze the health from spirit and soul. The persistence of such a weed speaks to me of the sin that is always ready to sprout just at the time when I think that I am finally ‘getting it’ (virtuously speaking). Sins of fearfulness, lack of faith, being quick to judge, quick to rise up in anger….and countless other varieties that litter the landscape that is my life. Being in the garden, pulling weeds, being reminded by the not so gentle kiss of a spider that I share this garden with others…gives me hope that the Gentle Gardener of my heart will not give up on this humble patch. I hear words of comfort- “he who touches you touches the apple of my eye”, “can a woman forget her nursing child..?”, “I keep covenant with those who love Me”. Why do I keep a garden? Partly because I like to see things grow- to see beauty, to eat the fruit (and vegetables) of my labour, and because of the joy of seeing life bursting forth- that holy “let there be”. I must believe and trust that my heavenly Father, the Husbandman of my being has an even greater joy and investment in my life, and in the lives of all those created in His image. What a waste to let such potential be crushed by the senseless hatred and violence of spiritual weeds.