See those pretty lavender pink flowers? They aren't really pretty lavender pink flowers. They are weeds. Pretty, extremely intrusive, weeds. A wolf in sheep's clothing to be exact. They are really called Crown Vetch, but if you are familiar with them, you can understand why I would call them Crown Wretch. They are insidious little things.
A few years ago, my sister-in-law, Sarah, and a friend saw these along the roadside growing wild. They thought they were the most beautiful things and could fill a large, empty section of garden easily and cheaply. So one evening, accompanied by friend and a favorite sister-in-law (me, of course!), Sarah set out to abscond with a few free clumps. Okay! So they filled the back of the SUV! As I said, they were growing wild along the side of the road, so I'm not quite sure why we got nervous and immediately struck innocent poses whenever a car chanced by, but we did. I think we felt like naughty little school girls getting caught in the act. Of what, I don't know. With the back of the vehicle loaded with these beauties, we headed for home. Sarah and friend set to work planting them in the empty spaces of their gardens.
Fast forward a year or two, maybe four or five. Sarah has had the garden weed exterminator to her house several times to rid her garden of this insidious beast. It has spread like crazy and threatens to overrun her garden. Still it thrives and weaves its little tentacles silently below the ground to rise up in unexpected and unwelcome places. It waves at us from beneath and around boulders. It pokes its nasty little head amongst the flowers. It wiggles its little fingers in the breeze, seemingly saying, "Hello! You can't stop me! Here I am! I'm ba-a-ack!"
So much of life is like this, isn't it? We pursue things of beauty or fun or temporary pleasure and somehow they come back to haunt us. We experience times of difficulty or tragedy and think it's over, it's ended, yet when we least expect it, it returns with a vengeance. We attempt to live our lives with integrity and kindness and love for others and we get used and abused in return. Crown wretch, crown wretch, crown wretch. I weed, I weed, I weed, yet the tentacles return.
My point is not to dwell on the weeds in our lives. It is not to lament ad nauseam. These things just make me wonder how people handle the Crown Wretch in their lives without a strong and abiding faith in God? It is the primary thing that gets me through. That and a little help from my friends and loved ones.
I write for me.
What's up with those shoes, you may ask? After driving 30 minutes to work one fine day, I looked down as I got out of the car and saw this. Good thing I work with middle school students! I used it as a teachable moment to show them how one could survive something stupid and laugh at oneself in the process. Invariably, whenever I wear the "giraffe" shoes, a student will comment that, "Hey, you're wearing the same shoes today!"