Killing weeds is never fun. It may be cathartic if you’ve had a rough day, but no one jumps at the chance to weed the garden. It’s just not pleasant. I recently found myself cleaning the yard and killing weeds with my trusty bottle of round up and like most mindless task, I found myself thinking about life while I sprayed roundup on what I hope were weeds.
You see the weeds in my yard are two and half years old. I know this because that’s how long it’s been since our yard received some serious love. The weeds were symbolic of our lives going through cancer and then grief. When you enter the world of life with cancer, your new normal does not involve yard work, or home repairs. It involves clinics, hospital stays, trying to not fall behind at work, and chick-fil-a more than once a week. After a year and half of our new life with cancer; we lost our new normal life and entered the world of grief. Part grief and part exhaustion from the past year and half collided and the energy to do anything outside of the normal means of living, was just to overwhelming. For every weed, a new emotion.
You see when we first entered the world of cancer people were quick to help with out us asking. Food was delivered, a group showed up to finish some home projects and clean the yard. We were and are thankful for this. It helped make the transition easier. Then the rain fell and the garden grew. Yard work was never any where near the top of the to do list.
Grief is terribly isolating. However, if you go the other side of the world, you will find a group of women who smile the biggest smiles you have ever seen. These women are either widows or left by their husbands. Due to the culture and legal marriage age of 15, they have limited skills to earn a living and mouths to feed. These women have banded together and are supported by the community. They learn job skills as these women go through life together. Not because it’s fun or church organized. They have to. To put food on the table and educate their children in hopes of a better future one day. If you are ever blessed to meet a group of these women I hope they rip your heart out in the best of ways. I have met these women and they are full of more life and love for the Lord than any one I have ever met. In meeting them all I wanted to do was cry with an over whelming emotion I can explain, but I couldn’t cry because a short 4 ft 5 woman with missing teeth grabbed me by the arm singing with the biggest smile on her face. Quickly after I found myself in the dancing circle singing and dancing. I couldn’t cry, they were just too happy and I didn’t want to rob them of this joy. These women in this community who had nothing, were so very happy. This is where happiness is in its purist form. Living life and supporting one another because it’s what they must do to live. It wasn’t about a monthly to do at the church or a biannual event. It wasn’t a way to feel like they had served the Lord and filled up their Jesus tank.
I thought about these women and how great they have it. My family has been on the receiving end of these church groups and good deed quota filling events. But here I am, killing those same weeds. While my yard has been cleaned up and repairs fixed, those weeds grew back because cancer and grief aren’t a one time thing. They are a lifetime thing. While everyone is quick to help once or twice, few are willing to walk this path; for those few who have we are so very thankful.
While my dad was sick and in the months following his passing a neighbor would push his lawn mower down the street to our house and cut our grass. He wouldn’t ask or say “Call if you need anything”. He just did. Friends that call and say “I’m a minute from your house and coming to visit” Those are God’s people. The small group of people who I would call my parents true friends, who showed up to clean and organize our garage with out motive or invite. And this tiny group, even though my Dad no longer gets to join them on their Friday night Mexican dinners, my mom is always invited. Still a part of the group.
I am often asked “Hey, how’s your Mom?”. I have decided I will no longer answer this question. I am not her and I can not tell you how she is doing. If you want to know, call her, message her, stop by the house and find out for yourself. I once had a fortune cookie tell me “Joy shared is doubled, sorrow shared is halved”. This cannot be more true.
This phase of life has taught me to help other with out asking and to listen when a friend needs to talk. I can’t fix the world, or anything any one else is going through. But I can listen.
In short, if you find yourself wanting the share God’s love with some one in need, please do, but be prepared to pull up the weeds when they regrow.