I cleared fall’s dead from the winding perennial borders—the purple coneflower stems, the sedum stalks. I removed the invasive honeysuckle and hemlock planted by birds in places they don’t belong. I cut down clumps of Karl Foerster grass, making way for new growth. I dug up and divided overgrown hostas, giving some away to those in need and filling bare spots.
My husband and I worked together spraying Round Up on the quack grass that will not be contained without drastic measures, its vigorous underground root system multiplying invisibly and rapidly. Finally, we spread shredded hardwood mulch over every bed—the dead feeding the living, keeping moisture in and weeds out.
I’m struck with all the work required (and pain!) to make and maintain a beautiful perennial bed. Every spring, I wonder . . .
Is it worth it?
I wonder the same about life. Surely life is a mix of beautiful and difficult. Sometimes trials and tribulations can wear us down, make us weary, keep us from stepping back and taking a panoramic view.
This morning, I step out, walking slowly along the flagstone path that cuts straight through the front garden. Still in my white robe and slippers, a mug of French Roast steaming, I admire the varied shades of green hosta, the textures and heights of fern, the blades of deep purple iris about to burst open, the magenta blooms of geranium, the sky blue of columbine, the vivid orange of oriental poppy. I could linger here always, never tiring of the beauty in this place where I spent hours on my knees working hard, wearing thin.
Is it worth it?
The death, the debris, the weeds? The cold, the winds, the wet? The cutting? The pruning? The uprooting? The transplanting?
The deadheading? The watering? The feeding?
Is such beauty worth all this effort?
What of God?
I think of that “one thing” in Psalm 27:4 . . .
One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
Of all the things we seek in this life, do we seek above all things to gaze on the beauty of the LORD? To seek him in his temple?
Do we stand back and see the panoramic view of what He’s doing in our lives? Do we see His hand at work in us weeding, digging, uprooting, pruning, transplanting, dividing, transforming?
The LORD is beautiful beyond imagination. His will is to make us beautiful too. And He will do all it takes. Because we are worth it.
No possible degree of holiness or heroism which has ever been recorded of the greatest saints is beyond what He is determined to produce in ever one of us in the end. The job will not be completed in this life: but He means to get us as far as possible before death.