I stood at the corner of our new backyard with my mother, hoping that she, like Mary’s Dickon, could help me identify the weeds. This particular corner had become neglected during the previous owners’ tenure here, yet it’s rumored that a garden once grew along the weathered fence line.
“What do you think, Mom. Should we just chop it all down?”
She reached up and carefully studied a vine wrapped around a dead tree.
“This one might be a rose vine,” then she pointed to another, “and that looks like blackberry … but you won’t know for sure until Spring. I really think you should wait to see what blooms here. Then you’ll know the weeds from the vines. But it will be work untangling them.”
New Year’s Eve. Like many of you, I spend this day in reflection and goal setting, journaling and dreaming. I decide upon a word or mantra to focus my intentions for the year. Last year was all about ADVENTURE for my family, and with our move to “the natural state” of Arkansas, our days were filled with hiking and exploring, making new friends, and most recently, launching a family business. It has truly been a year of adventure.
This year my word is PURPOSE.
There is such hope in that word, isn’t there?
For years my purpose had become so intertwined with my teaching career that when that season came to a close, it seemed impossible to unravel the tendrils tightly wrapped around that identity—so instead, I chopped them off at their source. This wasn’t the careful pruning of a gardner, but the careless hacking of an amateur, the destructive actions of one who confuses a dormant vine for a weed. Or possibly someone who doesn’t want to hassle with the difficult task of untangling the vine in the first place.
Yet so often in nature, when roots run deep and a plant receives the necessary sun and rain, it will heal and grow anew. So has it been for those chopped vines in my life. They have been slowly growing, revealing fresh purpose in the simple, such as home and nature and mercy.
Now this year, as those vines continue to grow, I hope they wrap themselves around something a bit sturdier, a bit firmer, and finally bud, revealing their true identity.
I wish this for us all. Happy New Year, friends.