Finding the Beauty Through the Weeds

I’ve written before about my affinity towards weeds – their persistence, their unconventional beauty, their unsung purpose. But there can also be a dark side to weeds, a literal choking out of light. Weeds, seemingly innocuous at first, can grow so thick and fast that it makes thriving, or even surviving, impossible for other important species.

And here, seemingly trapped in this dark tangled mess, is where we end up “in the weeds.”

Cambridge dictionary defines the term “in the weeds” as “with so many problems or so much work that you are finding it difficult to deal with something” or “concerned with small details, often when this prevents you from understanding what is important.”

Life, lately, has felt very much like living in the weeds. I’m in a season of life that is so abundant and full to the point of bursting, a rich and chaotic summer season. If my life were laid out as a garden, it would be in full bloom with every shade of flower unfurling and fruit dangling ripe and heavy and sticky-sweet from verdant branches. But the same conditions that encourage the growth of all these dynamic species results in an abundance of weeds. Weeds that require endless work and tending and attention. Weeds that again and again, pull my attention away and bring me to my knees. Weeds that threaten to overshadow the rest, grabbing at my ankles and tripping me up and keeping me stuck.

With so little time or energy or resources to spend on the ground, gently tending to the garden and tenaciously weeding, the vines grow longer and stronger, squeezing the life from fruit trees. The weeds become so thick, they obscure the wonder of what’s right in front of me. Delicate petals blocked by the great green mass that consumes them. All I can see, it seems, are the weeds. The work that unfurls more quickly than I can keep up. The million tiny hardships that make up a day and make up a life. The need to fight them back and the well of energy for fighting that has run dry.

But every so often, a breeze blows, parting the weeds, if only for a moment. Still, in that briefest of glimpses, I catch sight of the buds and blooms still holding on just beyond the tangled mess. The way my oldest daughter, despite all the ways she’s growing and changing, still curls her body into mine as we read a book together. How my middle child holds her brother’s hand as they wander down a wooded path, making sure he’s taken care of. When my son runs ahead of us, suddenly so bold and brave and big, turning back to ask. “You coming?”

“Yes,” I say, looking ahead.

Because no matter how overgrown and overwhelming life may become, in these moments, I can grasp again what’s important, in all its fleeting beauty. The way life keeps growing and transforming in spite of the demands. And these glimpses, these shifts in perspective, are invitations too. To keep showing up, to keep seeking the ordinary magic amidst the mess. I don’t have to do it perfectly. I don’t have to pull every weed and walk a path of ease for it to be a path worth walking. All I have to do is part the weeds just enough to see and stumble through, to reach out my hand to take hold of the small one that leads me, over and over again, towards a place of wonder.

“Yes, my darling, I’m coming.”

One response to “Finding the Beauty Through the Weeds”

  1. Oh my dear! Once again, you hit the ball out of the park with your beautiful words. Thank you for sharing what we all feel.

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