Compartmentalizing

It is time to admit that some plants are just too aggressive and invasive to be planted with the rest of the better-behaved beauties in the garden.

Take mint, for instance. Really, take it! I have a ton! I have much less now than when I naively planted it in the nicest bed in the front of the house. It quickly overtook the whole bed, and it took years to fully remove it. It now lives in a pot. Or take showy primrose, or violets, or erigeron, or verbena rigida.

The worst offender is the bane of my existence as a gardener — the dreaded Bermuda grass. We compost all of our weeds, so as to take full advantage of the valuable organic material and the soil that clings to the roots. But Bermuda has a compost bin all its own. Why? Because it will take longer for my anaerobic method to kill that wicked stuff, and there is a chance that it can grow and permeate the compost.

Other weeds turn into black, beautiful compost within weeks. The weed seeds are even rendered harmless through the process of decomposition. But Bermuda grass could take a year or more to decompose, even in an anaerobic enclosed environment. Most of it goes into the trash or the fire pit, but mixed weeds or even questionable weeds that MIGHT contain Bermuda roots go into that special bin.

In mental health circles, there is a method of dealing with stress and trauma that is very similar to my methods of containment of herbaceous troublemakers.

We all have heartache of one kind or another in our lives, some of us maybe a lot more than others. This has been so from time immemorial.

How we deal with troubles that permeate our minds almost every waking hour is quite the challenge! Worry and stress can have pernicious complications on our bodies, not to mention our minds. Since I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, I will not delve into the subject of ulcers, high blood pressure, arthritis, and even acne.

As the mint or the showy primrose escapes its confinement occasionally, we also must be mindful that the troubles of our loved ones do not creep into the other parts of our lives and destroy our good influence nor our positive outlook.

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, ‘Rejoice’” (Philippians 4:4, NASB).

Oh, that’s written for people that don’t have _________ in their lives. (Fill in the blank for your personal troubles and concerns.)

No, Paul didn’t write this with a caveat. He was in prison, and not the kind with college courses and televisions and running water. He also had the “daily concern for all the churches” on his mind (2 Corinthians 11:28).

Somehow, we have to learn to push the Kleenex box aside once in a while to focus on joy. My garden helps me do that! You may find distraction with other worthwhile activities; cooking, embroidery, knitting, auto mechanics, or whatever.

This isn’t the same as ignoring and pushing away grief or hardships, but rather learning to live with joy in spite of them.

The tissues are sure to come back out at times, but think of the box that they are held in as a symbol of how it is possible to compartmentalize your sorrows. The sorrows may still be there, and you must deal with them, but they don’t have to follow you around!

We must not let the worries of this world choke out our fruitfulness (Mark 4:19).

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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