I spent some time wandering around my beautiful campus after lunch today, soaking in the sunshine and all the flowers and trees in bloom.
After inhaling the scent of lilacs, a splash of color jumped into my peripheral vision. It was a bed of tulips, begging me to come photograph them. I love tulips. They always look so bright and happy and alive when in bloom. I walked over to the flowerbed, stood at just the right distance, with just the right lighting–and then I noticed the weeds. I can’t take a picture with weeds in it. So I tried a different angle. Nope, weeds in that one, too. I left that flowerbed in search of other flowers elsewhere, suspecting that other flowerbeds might also have weeds. And they might not have tulips.
Then it occurred to me that it was silly to settle for something less than what I wanted. I can pull the weeds. I reached down to pull the first dandelion and realized–there are so many weeds here. I’ll never get them all pulled. The tulips look kind of sparse anyway. I guess I won’t get my picture after all. And by then, I wasn’t enjoying the tulips anymore. The tulips were still bright and happy and alive, but all I was seeing was weeds.
How many times have I put off something important in my marriage–sex, a conversation, a decision–just because I was waiting for the perfect conditions?
It’s easy to let all the weeds of life get in the way of important things. We can’t have our friends over until I clean the house (and create an entirely new storage system for my knitting supplies, and repaint, and get a new couch). We can’t join the Bible study at church until we know when all the school events are and if I will have time to do the reading and until I feel comfortable with everyone in the group individually because of my social anxiety. We can’t have sex until the bedroom is perfectly serene and I’ve recovered from my conversation with my mother and we clean up the kitchen and replace the faucet and clean the mineral stains out of the sink and you trim the weeds along the fence line and and and and……
Conditions will never be perfect. If all you see is the weeds, you will miss the tulips. Life is full of details and stuff that can get in the way if you let them. Not only will conditions never be perfect, trying to make them perfect will keep you from so much joy in life. Life has weeds. But it also has tulips. Always keep your eye on the tulips.