There was an old low wall, all around the first garden I ever grew all
for myself. Up against it I planted hollyhocks, and billowy old roses
that didn’t care a bit about boundary markers. Within a season they
had thrown wild long limbs out into the unsuspecting world, blooming
with abandon for anyone and everyone who wandered by.
I tucked mint, and strawberries in around the feet of antique roses,
and daisies and within what seemed like an eye blink they had wandered
their stubborn way across the yard, and through the walls between
flower beds. Fragrant mint and sweet red berries sprang up everywhere
outside my plan.
No one told the weeds about walls; and most perennials simply don’t
listen. What is a bit of stone and mortar to a strawberry runner, or
the fluffy thistledown with a good breeze behind her? We humans love
walls, neat and tidy and safe. I suspect our Creator humors us, but
She also gives us strawberries, and creeping Charlie, and mint to
remind us that walls are meant to be breached.
Some days I am a weed. Jumping the walls, ignoring the fences, blowing
straight through the safe well laid plans because the Spirit is
moving. There is a time for walls, for cages that keep the rabbits at
bay until a tree has grown big enough to fend for itself. But the same
walls that keep the world out, fence us in.
I suppose that Eden had a wall, a sort of playpen for our infant
species, safe and contained. But children grow up (when all is as it
should be), and leave nurseries and safety behind for a great wide
world beyond. If you leave the protective cage around the growing tree
too long it will do exactly what you sought to prevent. It will girdle
the trunk, kill it even.
All the safe walls in which we operate, the children’s picture Bible I
so adored, the few square blocks around my home, will eventually
smother us. We must move past the colorful pictures, and simple Aesop
fable meanings, or the Bible itself becomes a wall between us and the
One who made us. Take your cue from mint, tenacious and bold. Follow
the strawberries, reaching out beyond walls for new fertile ground.
Remember the roses, refusing to just bloom inside where only a few can
The key of course, the thing we must practice our whole lives is the
discernment to know when a wall is protection and help, and when we
have outgrown its bounds. Walls after all usually have doors, and we
are not meant to stay inside them forever. Jesus stands outside and