2017-03-03 / Chaplain's News

Patience aids in taking control of personal life

Garrison Chaplain’s Office

A man of words and not of deeds,
Is like a garden full of weeds.”
- Benjamin Franklin

In 1997, my family and I moved to Augusta, Georgia for a tour at Fort Gordon and we soon bought a house. The house was in relatively good shape and needed only cosmetic changes. But the yard was a catastrophic mess. The previous owners had no real plan for the backyard but had over 30 years purchased various plants and trees and just planted them wherever they could until they could decide what to do with them.

As we began to reclaim the yard, we discovered the tenacity of a plant called Mondo Grass. It is a durable and dense plant that can neatly define the beds from the yard. But it can also take over the yard and if left unchecked, its roots become entwined with the roots of other plants and it’s almost impossible to eradicate. So, after moving into our house, my wife and I made a decision. We declared war on the mondo grass. We dug. We poisoned. We dug some more. We increased the grass killer formula to industrial strength levels. Nothing easy seemed to work.

What finally worked was manual labor. Inch by inch. Row by row. We dug the Mondo grass out by their roots. It took time and it took patience, but we succeeded in reigning in that plant’s control of the backyard. What we found out at that time is that the land was either going to be occupied with things we wanted or it was going to be occupied by the mondo grass. It was our decision. You see, the land never remained neutral. Either the land was ruled by the plants we did not want or it was ruled by the plants we chose to cultivate. And it was going to take a lot of hard work. But the effort was worth the labor.

Life is very much the same way. Life is never neutral. Your life will either be ruled by that which enables you to grow and thrive or will be ruled by that which tries to bring you down. Those weeds in your life either control you or you control them. Their roots, if left unchecked, will intertwine themselves with every other aspect of your life. Whether it is issues with alcohol, drugs, jealousies, family conflicts, temper tantrums, relationship issues, or financial problems, those weeds seek you out and come at you again and again and again. Your actions have consequences and some of them are destructive to your faith, health, family and welfare. And to take control of them will take a lot of hard work. But a better life is worth the effort.

The deeper the roots of negativity, destructive behaviors or any destructive ideology are rooted in someone’s life, a community or in a culture, it is very difficult to remove or eradicate. Therefore, it will take a lot of work. But the effort is worth the labor. That’s why we as leaders are called to be agents of conversion. We are called to provide our Soldiers, co-workers, friends and our families a place where they may grow. And that means sometimes we have to confront that which threatens our community. And that takes time, patience, and most of all leadership. The weeds should never rule.

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