Star Thistles

Those Star Thistles are Vicious, aren’t They?


Weeds in the garden. You don’t water them, you don’t tend them or nurture them, you certainly don’t plant them. You basically work hard to starve them of any nutrients so they will go away, and they are just as hardy as the day is long, and pop up continually.


Some of the weeds in my garden are lovely, actually. They have delicate purple flowers that show up only in the early morning to welcome the sun.

This morning, as I was watering the garden, I was also doing some deep breathing and trying not to cry from fury. I am not a furious person. It doesn’t suit me. But I’ve been asked to mend a fence I didn’t break; mend an imaginary fence that the person responsible for dreaming it up broke, and is now sobbing to other people in our extended family that we need to fix it. I imagine this is something we all deal with in one way or another – the outer reaches of sanity that circle and hover and meddle and start things that no one can fathom. And we are being asked to be the bigger people. Again.

Why is it never the crazies that are asked to step up and be big for once, or stop dreaming up injuries?

So, I’m breathing and trying to focus on a word or phrase that will calm me and help me be big when I want to speak the words on the tip of my tongue, speak of my own injuries at the hand of this person, that I’ve never spoken, because I have always been big. My head is about to explode.

My husband knows I’m in an internal wrestling match trying to get to the point where I can handle this like the adult I am. I will get to that point eventually, but I am wrestling. I’m watering my garden, and letting tears well up in my eyes. I am breathing long, deep, cleansing breaths.

He is wandering around the garden picking weeds. He has been the bigger person in this situation for many more years than me. He walks past me at one point and just says, “Those star thistles are vicious, aren’t they?”

And that becomes my mantra for a few minutes. I realize that there are always weeds in the way. There are always situations, or people, or traffic jams, or DMV waiting lines. There are always things in our lives that we don’t ask for, don’t plan, wish would go away, but we keep getting to pull the weeds that are the things distracting from our lovely garden, lovely life. We don’t get angry at the weeds. Why would we unsettle our hearts like that?

Weeds grow out of nothing. They are incredibly vigorous and robust in ruthless soil with no water. Yet they grow. They somehow have a function, if nothing else than to teach us to continue moving toward our gorgeous outcomes, weeding as we go. They will continue to come back. The process of getting rid of the weeds in our garden is absolutely eternal. Unless we are willing to spray harsh chemicals, (which, truly, what kind of sense does that make?), we will always get to spend time every day pulling the things out that don’t need to stay. And often, those things that don’t need to stay, to be honest, are my own attitudes, my own need to be right.

And with that, all is well again in my heart.

3 thoughts on “Those Star Thistles are Vicious, aren’t They?

  1. This is beautiful, Liesl. Working on the “outer bigness” is way easier than working on our “inner bigness”. The inner bigness is so much more rewarding, but since no one else can really see it – it requires something rather deep in us to work it out. We all have these sorts of experiences. I think, like the weeds, we are given an opportunity to practice removing that which no longer needs to stay. That is perfect.

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