Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tumbling Weeds

            On a pleasure trip in our pickup truck to the flat side of Texas, I became fascinated with tumbleweeds. Intrigued, I asked my husband, David, if we could take a load of tumbleweeds home. Earlier, a friend mentioned that during a very lean year in West Texas, they decorated scrawny tumbleweed for Christmas. Minus the poverty, a tumbleweed Christmas sounded like fun.

            If I remember correctly, Dave balked just a little about my suggested cargo. After all, he would drive the load through miles of curious onlookers, who would most certainly wonder about our worthless load of weeds.

            If you’ve ever run across tumbleweed, literally, you know to steer away from future run-ins.  If a rambling weed moves across the road near a low-slung sports car, depending on the angle of assault, they can scratch paint, damage the under carriage, or screech across hoods. They even tangle in moving parts and break air hoses underneath semi-trucks.  

            On that day when I made my bizarre request, Dave said yes, as he kindly caved to my insane desire. We harvested tumbleweeds near a roadside where a fence had corralled a good number of the cumbersome bushes. A few ranchers and locals slowed their vehicles, shaking their heads in disbelief as we reaped tumbleweeds.

            The “Seattle Times” in 2001, reported on tumbleweeds whose taproots absorbed radiation on the Hanover Nuclear Reservation, contaminating the plant. On a search and destroy mission, crews were sent out to test for “glowing” tumbleweeds. Those weeds could spread what they had absorbed.


            The Prairie Tumbleweed Farm in Kansas has turned the Russian thistle, which arrived here in imported grain years ago, into a booming business. Some tumbleweed grow as tall as a house and are sold around the world as props in western movies, theme parks, country weddings, businesses, and homes. These tumbleweeds became useful again when guided to a good purpose.

            “Tumbleweed” doesn’t describe a specific plant but a habit of plants that separate from their root nutrients and then keep rollin’, rollin’, rollin’. When plants leave the soil, they lose their source of livelihood, become hollow, and then whiffs and puffs of ground air blow them about. I couldn’t think of a creative way to use all my tumbleweeds, so we burned them with the fall leaves on a damp, tranquil day.

            As I’ve pondered, studied, and prayed about humility over the past six weeks, I’m getting a clearer picture of virtues increasing when anchored in humble thinking.  Even though humility is among the seven virtues, many think that it remains the foundation of all others. “True humility -- the basis of the Christian system -- is the low but deep and firm foundation of all virtues,” says Edmond Burke.
            The virtue kindness happens when the giver puts aside personal needs. The virtue charity grows out of “Christ in you” (Colossians 3:27). The virtue diligence progresses when one doesn’t mind providing manual labor or prestigious labor, the lowliness or status not making any difference.

            Many people, tap-rooted in contamination, formed alliances against God in Psalmist Asaph’s day, and he asked, “Make them like tumbleweed, O my God” (83:13). When people withdraw from God, they become brittle and hollow, and blown about by whims, they damage others. 

            I’ve seen that my thoughts are often like the roving tumbleweed, flitting here and there, one minute I’m on a good path to behaving humbly, and the very next minute, (literally), my pride-filled ego rises and yanks on the taproot, trying to urge me out of God’s will. It’s a struggle, but worth the winning. This week, may God furnish you with nutrient-filled soul-soil as you practice humility. 

            Hunger for Humility (6): “Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop -- a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matthew 13:8 NLT)

            Cathy Messecar welcomes comments or ideas at writecat at consolidated dot net

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