Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Parables, pictures and prayers from Kaș …weeds in the fence

The Gőkseke house was a shambles when we bought it. Roof leaking, junk everywhere, garden weedy and overgrown. Part of its challenge—and its charm. Last summer we engaged compulsively-thorough Alper to clean the garden. We talked about which trees to remove, overhanging limbs to cut back, insects and diseased plants to tend, and nutrition for the soil along the fence. We discussed plants we love—jasmine, vines, roses, wild geranium and bougainvillea. Alper had watched this old garden decay for a long time and was full of ideas, suggesting lemon jasmine to discourage mosquitoes and wild daisies for groundcover. He, too, had a vision of how lovely it could be.

Then we left town. Alper and crew put in a hot, hard week, and then phoned Eda to come check the job. I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach when she emailed photos. Other than trees EVERYTHING was gone! Our alluring romantic space was now eye-strain stark in the sun. How had our desires been so misunderstood?

The winter passed. Every time I thought about Gőkseke the same sad feeling rose in my gut. “It’s just a garden,” I told myself. “Renovation will probably be easier without the growing things. We can plant it again.” Still, it hurt.

Ten months passed before we saw the place, and Alper, again. By then weeds had overtaken the cleared spaces and things looked worse than ever. As we walked the lower courtyard to plan an ongoing gardening contract, Alper described his efforts of the prior summer. “We tried to save the garden,” he said, “but the weeds were too entwined with the good plants and everything grew in and around the fence. We couldn’t separate them, and so we had to take them all.”

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. When the wheat sprouted, the weeds also appeared. His servants asked, ‘Do you want us to go and pull the weeds?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together, and I will sort it out at harvest.’” Matthew 13:24-30, paraphrased.

O, Lord, what wisdom! We just don’t have the skill or the knowledge to separate those who belong to Your kingdom from those who don’t. So we risk destroying everything when we try. You choose to allow all to thrive until You are ready to do something entirely new. Even then, you promise skilled harvesters and leave us free to simply love. Thank you for enabling me to hold my tongue over the winter. I am humbled. Bless Alper in all his work, and especially as he creates and tends the new garden with his careful, joyfully hard-working patience.

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