Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?
My mom read this poem to me as a kid what seems like a gazillion times, a gazillion years ago. I never once wondered what it meant. Now, I wonder. And I’m perplexed. Exactly WHY was Mary contrary?
Webster defines . . .
Opposite. Incompatible with another. Both cannot be true. Being so different as to be at opposite extremes. Being not in conformity with what is usually expected. Temperamentally being unwilling to accept control or advice.
How can any garden grow when one is contrary?
I was chiming the childhood rhyme in my mind as I planted yesterday.
Pansies. Petunias. Geraniums. Lettuce. Broccoli. Basil.
What’s being planted in my soul, I wonder?
What am I allowing to be sown?
Am I a contrary Mary? Closed. Refusing. High-browed. Proud. Thinking I’ve got God in my corner.
Please, Lord, let me not be so!
But some of us are so stubborn we harden the crust of our “field”. We don’t allow holy seed to take. We want control more than we want anything. Even God.
So we block everything that might help us grow. Better to stay with what we know, we think. Stay within our comfort zones, our power zones, our known zones. Better to live a half-starved life, a half-dead life where accomplishments are better than relationships. Better not to let ourselves think, even for a minute, that we might be missing something better, fuller. I’m amazed at how I can convince myself that anything and everything is true and good, the minute I pull my nose out of God’s word.
There’s no ME in the middle of Heaven and Hell. There’s no third choice. We choose one or the other. Every moment of every day . . .
My way or the highway? It’s the HIGH-way or the HELL-way. That’s it. Our choice.
Jesus said the kingdom of God is with us now, not just later (Luke 10:9, Luke 17:21). We can catch slices of heaven right here. We decide whether whether to seek and find. Or not.
Will we be contrary, like Mary? Will we demand our own way, even thinking it’s God’s way when his infallible word tells us not?
There’s a better way . . .
Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Luke 12:31).
Just keep your eyes on Jesus, I coach myself. Don’t be tempted toward pride or shame, the same Self-coin with two sides.
Just keep your heart seeing Jesus, I tell myself. Don’t worry how much you stumble—how much others see you fail—how much you fail others, how much others may judge you, not love you, reject you. Who cares most?
If only I still seek Jesus—the only One and Only who can make WHOLENESS out of my WHOLE MESS.
I’m a mess. I admit it.
And, believe it or not, so are you.
Jesus is our One and Only cure to Self-implosion.
The WAY. The TRUTH. The LIFE.
Let me know and live, Lord.
Forever, starting today.
Help me not be a contrary Mary.
Make my garden grow.