Recently, I wrote about growing popcorn in our driveway at our little house in Redondo Beach, California. An accidental spill of kernels turned into a mini-crop of popcorn stalks. Somehow, those kernels took root in the worst possible dirt.
That’s not all we grew at that house by accident:
We grew marijuana.
I never did drugs, so I was pretty naïve. When this interesting young plant sprouted in the side yard of our house, I was impressed. I didn’t know what it was, but it grew quickly. So I took really good care of it – watering it and fertilizing it just like all the flowers and shrubs in our yard.
It was a pretty little plant – bright green serrated leaves that looked like someone’s fingers spread from their palm. It had an interesting scent, too – different from the other plants in our yard.
It grew really well. Soon, it was one of the nicest-looking shrubs in our landscape.
Makes a gardener proud . . .
Sometime later, we had friends over for dinner. They were people from our church – good friends that we would often hang out with.
One of them was a cop.
We had worked hard on our house, and were proud of our landscaping. So we took them on a tour.
We showed them the popcorn. We showed them the flowers and shrubs. We told stories of tearing up the lawn, adding sprinklers and perfecting the thick, lush lawn they were standing on.
Then we took them around to the side yard to continue the tour.
“So, what’cha got here?” our policeman friend said as he approached our accidental plant.
“I don’t know – but it’s really pretty, isn’t it?”
“Yep. Real pretty. Did you plant it?” he said.
“No, it just sprouted one day. It looked cool, so I’ve been taking care of it.”
“You know,” he said, “maybe it would be better if you didn’t take such good care of it.”
He did a little research, and found out that the neighbor had been busted a few months earlier. The yard was absolutely full of the illegal plant. Authorities cleared his yard, but some seeds were still in the ground.
We thought we were great gardeners. Everything we planted grew well; even the things that grew accidently grew well. Just like the popcorn, the marijuana just appeared. We hadn’t questioned it; we just assumed it was OK with the rest of the plants.
A lot of things “just appear” in our lives. A lot of them are thoughts, habits or attitudes that we didn’t plant. The people around us had a yard full of them, and they snuck in when we weren’t looking. We assumed they were harmless, so we let them stay – and watered and nurtured them.
Over time, they’ve grown into full-grown plants.
They look pretty. But they’re dangerous – and damaging our lives.
They need to go.
We need to quit watering them. We need to dig them out.
The only way we can grow is by focusing on the things that help us thrive, while intentionally eliminating the things that hold us back.
What’s in your garden?