Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I Pulled More Than Roots

Yesterday I said I planed to garden all this week.


What I spent Monday doing could better be described as lumberjacking than gardening.

When we moved to this home a dozen years ago, two shrubs thrived in the front yard. Mature, well-established, big, tall, deep, deep-rooted shrubs.

For God only knows what reason (I can’t remember why we did such a foolish thing myself) Sunday Ginny and I decided to uproot these shrubs, remove them, and reconfigure our front flower bed.

Actually, she decided that she wanted me to uproot the shrubs.

Now, not that I'm bitter about this but Monday, I chopped. I dug, I pushed. I pulled. I strained.

Each shrub held fast.

They have roots.

These roots intertwine with those of a large oak tree, as well as with the roots from a bunch of vines, shrimp plant roots, pipes from the Municipal Sewer System, Mexican heather roots, rose bush roots, bromeliad roots, underground trans-continental cables, salvia roots, firecracker aloe roots, concrete laced with steel rebar from the Jurassic Era, azalea roots, and just plain weed roots.

I dug more to expose the deep roots of the shrubs.

I swung my ax fruitlessly.

I panted.

I faded.

The roots clung to the foundations of our house.

The shrubs stayed defiantly triumphant .

I hate to ask for help.

But when dealing with roots, sometimes it’s necessary to admit you can’t do it yourself and call upon a higher power for help.

That’s what I did.

I called my daughter to come over with her four-wheel drive truck. I bound the roots with a hefty tow-chain, the kind used to pull tractor-trailers out of a ditch.

I hooked the chain to her trailer hitch.

The truck tires gripped.

Then slipped.

The truck slewed sideways.

The roots held fast.

Twice the chain shackles broke.

Three times I rigged the chain again.

The truck dug in.

Wheels spun.

The roots loosened.

The bush came partially out of the ground. A friend and I got down in the hole and chopped thicker tap roots. The truck moved again. The bush broke free. The truck drug it across the front yard to the curb for the trashmen to collect.

In doing all this, for some reason I thought of a half-remembered Bible verse where the Apostle warns us:

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”.

Until I looked it up this evening, all I could remember of that passage was the phrase, “root of bitterness”.

I find that in my own soul, bitterness puts down deep roots. I find that bitterness springs up in me faster than kudzu or monsoon bamboo. A word, a real or imagined slight, even a facial expression — and there bitterness sprouts again from roots deeper than the World Tree of Norse mythology, roots deeper and more painful than an aching wisdom tooth.

But, as I said earlier, “When dealing with roots, sometimes it’s necessary to admit you can’t do it yourself and call upon a higher power for help”.

With bitterness, chains, shackles, and a four-wheel drive truck prove too weak to uproot it.

Bitterness gets rooted in the heart.

Nothing less than the blood of Jesus withers that root.

I believe that.


Wish prayer worked on the other kind of roots too.

But I pulled more than roots today.

It’s not advisable to sit in front of a computer for months on end then jump right into stump pulling with no exercise in between. Therein lies madness.

Tonight, I’m so sore that combing my hair hurts!

On the up side of Monday:

Working outside today, for the first time in my life I saw a pair of rode-breasted grosbeaks in our yard. These colorful birds are not native to Florida, but Jacksonville lies in their Spring migration flight path. I crept into the house and brought out our new digital camera to snap these two photos.

I’m thrilled.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 4:59 AM


At 6:44 AM, Blogger Pat said...

I hate to tell you this but apparently those roots were entwined around the foundation of our patio, now there's a big sink hole in the back yard...thanks!
Great analogy on the root of bitterness - it can run mighty deep and only a the power of God can remove it, other wise we're just spinning our wheels!

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Seeker said...

I love the root analogy. Reminds me of the blessed man in Psalm 1, and how deep roots CAN be a good thing.

Isn't it fun to watch the birds up close like that? I'm waiting for the goldfinches to find my feeder.

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Garden of Eden said...

the roots lession is really good John.God bless

At 10:16 PM, Blogger jellyhead said...

Those birds are so pretty. What a joy to be able to see them near home.

Hope the knotted muscles stop aching soon!

At 6:42 PM, Blogger agoodlistener said...

I don't know, John. Those bird photos border on "cute". Better watch it.

In my garden, I always marvel at the diversity of plants and how they cling to life.


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