Maybe our gardens will save us during this coronavirus crisis. Most of us are going crazy trying to “shelter in place.” And even though the stay-at-home orders from all levels of government are pretty much over as of today, there’s still much to be said for tinkering in the garden.

We’re bored, lonely and sometimes irritable with those we love most who share our confined space. But the garden offers a welcome release. There’s something therapeutic about digging in the dirt, sifting the soil through our fingers, planting seeds and seedlings that flourish in the sun.

When I lived in Minnesota, I always had a garden. I guess it was “our” garden, my daughter and mine. She was 7 when we moved to Minnesota. Every spring we would pick out what we would plant, and after I spaded up the earth, we would plant our garden together: cilantro, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and cabbage.

One year, we grew a pumpkin 2 feet in diameter. We tried okra, but apparently it needs the searing heat of Texas. Rhubarb didn’t require planting — it just volunteered itself every year.

I wasn’t a good gardener. After the ground was turned and the garden planted, we pretty well left it alone, and it grew. That’s what things do in Minnesota. Long days of sunlight, pleasant summers and occasional rain. Things just grow.

But, the same conditions that cultivate vegetables also stimulate weeds. By harvest, we had a wonderful crop of both. Our whole family would visit the garden like children on an Easter egg hunt. Searching among the weeds we celebrated the discovery of tomatoes, squash, cabbages and a “great pumpkin.”

Jesus used a similar image to help us understand the mystery of good and evil in the world: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered ‘because while you are pulling the weeds you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into the barn.’” (Matthew 13:24-29).

The world is kind of like our garden in Minnesota. Evil flourishes in the world, like the weeds. It dominates the news and grabs the headlines. But hiding among the weeds are the vegetables, those things that are good, righteous, wholesome and healthy.

In every situation where it appears that evil will triumph, we find, hidden beneath the headlines, acts that are heroic and sacrificial, acts of forgiveness, kindness, goodness and faith.

Bill Tinsley reflects on current events and life experience from a faith perspective. Visit www.tinsleycenter.com. Email bill@tinsleycenter.com.

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