A few weeks ago, I was spending some time tending Callie's garden. I had brought some Roundup spray with me to kill some of the repeat offenders that kept popping up and was quietly working on spraying each patch of crabgrass one at a time, thinking about Callie and this crazy journey we have been on as I went along. After a few minutes, some preschool children came out of the church for outdoor playtime. Quickly, I became the object of their curiosity.
"Whatcha doin'?" they asked.
"I'm spraying the weeds," I replied.
"So that I can make room for the good plants."
"Because weeds make the garden sick."
"Well, the weeds take away the stuff that the good plants need to grow."
It was then that I briefly questioned my sanity for switching grade levels to preschool. I had fallen for the "why" trap and I couldn't get out! Thinking I was clever, I tried answering a question with a question...
"Why do you think?" I asked.
"Why are the weeds bad?" a little boy asked back. Clearly, I had been outplayed.
"Yeah, why do you have to kill them?" said another. Several children echoed their sentiments. "Yeah! Why?"
There I stood, a killer. Slaying innocent plants for the sole vain purpose of keeping up visual appearances. For a moment, I actually considered the morality of what I was doing. And then I remembered that these kids were three and could also make me question the morality of teeth brushing, bed time, and eating fruits and vegetables.
I chuckled and remembered that sometimes the best way to handle the "why" question is with humor.... so I told them I was going to quit pulling the weeds so the garden would turn into a jungle with monkeys in it. They laughed and ran away.
...But they got me thinking about those weeds. Are they really so bad?
Weeds are tough. They can dig deep in the most unlikely of places and plant roots. They blossom in dirty sidewalk cracks or thrive in the hottest of summer heat waves. They are resilient. No matter where that seed gets planted, they bloom. They remind me of my favorite expression, one that I've seen echoed from Kelle Hampton to Joel Olsteen.... bloom where you are planted.
You might be planted in a beautiful field of wildflowers or in a tiny crack of pavement, it doesn't matter. Bloom! Thrive! Live!
I didn't want to be planted someplace ugly. But, that's where the wind carried me. So guess what? I'm blooming.
The next time I see a sunny yellow dandelion poking up through the ground, I am going to try and look at it through the lens of a child. Beautiful flower, not ugly weed. It's shining against the odds, just daring you to squirt some extra strength Roundup on it because honey, bring it. No weed killer, suffocating heat, or rocky soil can stop it. It will always see opportunities, dare to dream, and make the most of its tiny patch of dirt. Because this tiny patch of dirt? It's all we've got. And we better start loving it.