Driving down the highway, on the Olympic Peninsula, I got to thinking about how difficult this spring has been to enjoy. Every day has seemed gloomier than the one before, and with two restless toddlers, there have been many moments filled with energetic frustration, over the lack of warmth and sunshine.
Looking out the window, my eyes caught sight of masses of gigantic shrubs covered in bright yellow flowers. Anyone, living on the Olympic Peninsula might be frowning right now, because I am talking about Scotch Broom, a plant that is not native to the area and manages to take over whatever space it can find. You can find it basically everywhere on the Peninsula.
I remembered my parents had told me some funny stories about Scotch Broom in their neighborhood. Apparently, if one of the residents had this plant growing in their yard, a letter would be promptly sent out informing you to get rid of this noxious weed immediately! The funny thing is, this plant is actually quite pretty to look at. I often think I might take some home and put it in a vase.
As I looked out my car window this particular day, I was struck by what a nice contrast the Scotch Broom made against the dark, densely growing evergreens. It was as if the Scotch Broom created a fire flame effect through the trees and I began to think about the Bible verse from Matthew, “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house” (Matthew 5:15). In the middle of a very dark and depressing spring, there was some light, even if it was just through the color of a noxious weed. The brightness was impossible to miss.
What is a Weed?
I thought more about the analogy. When I was a little girl pulling weeds with my father, I asked him to define what a weed was. He told me, “Anything you do not want growing in your garden.” By that simple definition then, it seems as if many plants might be misunderstood as ugly and noxious because people have defined them as weeds. Scotch Broom is considered a noxious weed, because it is difficult to control and crowds out native plants.
Our role as Christians in this world may come across similarly to people who do not fully understand why we believe what we do. In some cases, the very fact that one is willing to be open enough to state his or her faith beliefs might be considered offensive. People have often tried to argue with me by telling me that I have a limited perspective on life because I am Christian. This makes me feel like a weed, misunderstood. Just as a beautiful flower can be classified as something to get rid of, so Christianity can be dismissed as limiting, by those who don’t understand.
Scotch Broom spreads quickly covering the otherwise gloomy landscape with yellow brilliance—even if there are those who want this weed gone. I want to grow just as rampantly in my faith as the Scotch Broom. I do not want to hide my faith, but let it be a light to those around me, even if it means not being liked by everyone.