I really did know what I was getting into when I decided to tear out all the lupine in the driveway circle. We had done it once before. It is hard, dirty, frustrating work ripping out those dead, dry, brittle plants whose tap roots can be up to 3 feet long and, I don't know, 8" around at the top tapering down to a point at the 3' mark. They are really pretty and green in the spring producing beautiful yellow bract-like flowers and when massed together are very attractive. But when the flowers fade into dry seed pods, they literally explode and shoot the seeds everywhere to ensure next years crop. Then the plants seriously degrade into dry, brown, scraggly messes. Lupine are very invasive and very persistent. So I knew I had my work cut out for me and I had a plan to transform the scrubby circle into a lush example of nature's beauty.
After working for a day by myself, my strong hubby, Ron, volunteered to help. Every difficult job goes easier with a buddy, and in one mighty and valiant effort, we cleared 3/4 of the circle before we ran out of oomph. We still had to haul the mess back to the burn pile and thankfully I was inspired with the idea to work smarter, as they say, and use the truck to deliver them to their fiery fate. Brilliant!
So now there was only a "little bit" left for me to finish up the next day while Ron went to work. I thought, "No prob. I can handle this bit", and tore into it with great optimism, in spite of the soreness from yesterdays effort. After only about 15 minutes of slipping down the sloping side of the circle, attempting to effectively wield my shovel against those evil shrubs whose cantankerous and mischievous tap roots invade the plumbing systems of China to tickle the bums of proper Chinese ladies, and whose branches fight back slapping me in the face, smearing dirt in my hair, shoes and down my shirt stuffing what little available space remains in my bra, I was exhausted. I plopped down on the log bench under the maple tree in tears. "Why am I doing this? I just wanna be done. This is so freaking hard! What are you trying to teach me?"
After I caught my breath a bit and got over myself, a few thoughts began to surface inside from the place where God speaks to me. They went like this: "Are you really going to let these measly shrubs defeat you? You are smarter and stronger and tougher than they are. Look inside, find your strength. Be persistent and complete the job."
Persist. Persistent. Persistence. Continue despite opposition. Endure, recur (do it again). (Webster's Dictionary).
The word stuck out like a cross between a spanking and a pat on the back. Is that a definition for life in general or what? Life can sometimes give us a spanking and make us cry. Things don't always come easy. Especially the good stuff. I had to pull myself out of myself and make the sacrifice to finish the job I wanted to do. Most everything requires a sacrifice. Of time, of energy, of money, of love, of strength, of endurance, of ego, pain, forgiveness, of, of, of...
It's just so plain freaking, hard sometimes but we have to persist, make the sacrifice and move forward. Even if it's just pulling up one root at a time with a slip back down only to have to climb back up to do it again. But it's worth it. Worth the big and little sacrifices. Opposition and persistence make us strong and, when we look back to see how far we've come, brings fulfillment and satisfaction to our hearts.
And this is important, we have to remember that when life spanks us we need to give ourselves a pat on the back by looking around to see how much we've accomplished, how far we've come. It's an immediate reward and encourages us to continue, to "recur", to do it again. There will always be another opportunity to exercise persistence. My next opportunity is at hand. I must complete the job I started, finish the clean up and replanting. When it's all done, and it'll take a while, I'll have to persist in it, I can look back, remember what it was, see what it is and, with "recurring persistent patience", imagine what it will become.