Archive for September, 2013

Why It’s Best to Deal With the Roots

There they are, parents and students and other helping folk. Got their gloves and rakes and wheelbarrows and good intentions.

As perennial as the weeds they are so vigorously uprooting.

Once or twice a year these teams of volunteers show up very early on a Saturday morning in front of the elementary school down the road from where I live. Soon they are chopping and pulling and hauling away the huge, unsightly weeds. Then shoveling and spreading the bright new shredded bark.



When the school was originally built some years ago, a landscaping company cleared and leveled a large area by the front parking lot and a narrower strip between the sidewalk and street. It was then covered in the ubiquitous bark. Landscapy grasses were placed here and there.

It looked great.

 Until it rained.

           And weeds sprouted unrestrained.

                   Then the annual pilgrimage of goodhearted volunteers began.

Late spring.

Late spring.

Fact is, the underlying problem has never been addressed. When they have their goodhearted meetings about cleaning up the school grounds, no one says: “Hey, wait a minute! Why don’t we

                                              scrape off the old bark,

                                                         spray weed control,

                                                                   cover with weed barrier fabric,

                                                                             then add bark!”

No one agrees: “Great idea! It would ultimately cost less and we would have far less work and then we could volunteer for other projects which don’t prove the old maxim that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result!”


Winter, etc.

Instead, the teams of goodhearted volunteers will reappear in the next few weeks.

         The ugly weeds will be tackled. Again.

               The bark will be spread. Again.

                     And everyone will go home feeling really good about their service to the community.

Proving, again, that the unaddressed roots of bad things never really go away.

If you have some unaddressed roots, how can you deal with them today?


Remembering on This September 11

Never forget.

Never forget.

Here are a few things I’ve been thinking about in the days leading up to this terrible anniversary:

  •  Time does heal. Sometimes, however, it simply provides an anesthetizing balm. When this thins, as it does occasionally, the bright, sharp pain of loss wounds again. We are reminded of this every year when family members of those lost on 9/11 are interviewed.
  • The capacity for human courage is stunning. There is something about the accounts of the firefighters on that day that feels like it will never be fully comprehended. Entering the apocalyptic scene in those towers carrying 60 lb packs, taking turns carrying heavy high-rise air hoses, climbing the stairs in utter determination in the blistering heat and smothering smoke. Floor after floor to their doom. 343 of them.
  • The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it? God can. And does. There is a particular comfort in this, the knowledge that there are no surprises, nothing unforeseen by Him.
  • The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. A familiar quote, and true. Evil will never be a benign, passive force in the world. A day like today reminds us that the good and right must be equally aggressive in protecting its own.
  • We need a Savior. The history of mankind is pockmarked with horror. One of the overarching messages of the Bible is that this is not all there is. Without that truth, we would live in the constant companionship of despair. No need. Christ has come. We trust the future to Him.

We pray for the families of those lost on that day. For the wives and husbands and children, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters – all those who lost loved ones in the towers, the Pentagon, in the field at Shanksville, PA, and now, Benghazi. That, at least, we can do.

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