This morning as I was in the back yard doing my morning study I knelt down to remove a few weeds from a little patch of ground that neighbors our driveway. It rained last night and the dirt was loose. As I pulled on several of the weeds I noticed something interesting, whereas most of the weeds when the earth was dry would break off and leave the roots to grow again another day, some were now coming up completely and more easily.
I’m amazed at what we can learn if we’re listening. The gospel of our brother Jesus Christ is often compared to water. To continue with the analogy, the garden is our lives and the weeds can be sin, or even just those things that clutter up our lives that will eventually, if left, will choke and overrun those plants we have planted for food or beauty.
One of my favorite stories is The Little Prince. Amid the handful of amazingly simple, yet powerful, little stories is one about what happens when weeds aren’t tended to when they are young.
“…there were on the planet where the little prince lived — as on all planets –good plants and bad plants. In consequence, there were good seeds from good plants, and bad seeds from bad plants. But seeds are invisible. They sleep deep in the heart of the earth’s darkness, until some one among them is seized with the desire to awaken. Then this little seed will stretch itself and begin — timidly at first — to push a charming little sprig inoffensively upward toward the sun. If it is only a sprout of radish or the sprig of a rose-bush, one would let it grow wherever it might wish. But when it is a bad plant, one must destroy it as soon as possible, the very first instant that one recognizes it.
Now there were some terrible seeds on the planet that was the home of the little prince; and these were the seeds of the baobab. The soil of the planet was infested with them. A baobab is something that you sill never, never be able to get rid of if you attend to it too late. It spreads over the entire planet. It bores clear through it with its roots. And if the planet is too small, and the baobabs are too many, they split it in pieces…
Fully Grown Baobab Trees
‘It is a question of discipline,’ the little prince said to me later on. ‘When you’ve finished your own toilet in the morning, then it is time to attend to the toilet of your planet, just so, with the greatest care. You must see to it that you pull up regularly all the baobabs, at the very first moment when they can be distinguished from the rose-bushes which they resemble so closely in their earliest youth. It is very tedious work,’ the little prince added, ‘but very easy.’” (p 16-18 The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery)
A great man once emphasized this another way, “Most vices in the beginning take on attractive and innocent appearing garbs, and a careful examination of the career of many an unfortunate man will reveal the 1st step of his misfortune in some ‘innocent pastime’ whose vice rarely manifested itself in its infancy.” (Gospel Doctrine, Joseph F Smith)
Two things I learned this morning while in the garden: One, if I desire a beautiful and fruitful garden, there shall never come a time where I may rest from my labors. Protecting my garden from weeds is all-the-time work. And two, the refreshing moisture of the gospel allows me to completely remove weeds from my garden, roots and all.
While I have already found myself with a baobab threatening to destroy my planet I have set my ax to it. I also am learning to recognize these plants while they are young. I continue to weed my garden so that others may not grow as this great beast has.
I was grateful this morning to feel this simple lesson rest upon my mind and teach me eternal truths.
I am also quick to recognize the role that the Savior is playing in my recovery. Last night I finished up Level 4 of my pornography addiction recovery program and now embark on a week long journey to incorporate into my life the skill of facing my fears & temptations as it has taught. I have already faced temptation three times this morning and I feel empowered by the process that helps me to face my fears and choose my own path.