Our family has been on a mission ever since Monday. Monday afternoon at precisely 2:20 PM, I look out at my beautiful garden and smile at the huge squash, the cauliflower, the tomatoes, the cucumbers, the eggplant, the herbs.
Then, I see him. He’s literally looking up at me with a smirk on his face, holding a juicy cucumber between his paws. I start screaming and waving my arms in front of the window. I run like a mad woman down the stairs and out into the yard. The groundhog merely saunters off and finds refuge under our back porch. He’s huge. He must look like this groundhog by now. He’s eaten all my cauliflower, stripped the green beans, destroyed the squash, and decimated the cucumber.
We gather the family together and set up garden surveillance. My children watch from the window and begin making a list of questions like:
1. How does the thief enter?
2. When does he come?
3. What attracts him to the garden?
4. What will keep him out?
My dear, dear husband puts up a beautiful fence that very night. But the thief knows how to tear through the wooden fence. He can also dig underneath it. So my dear, dear husband returns from the store with chicken wire that buries deep into the ground and ascends up high around the garden.
Finally, we can sleep easy. What’s left of the garden can grown in peace and produce a bountiful crop.
All day, I’ve been considering the vigilance of our family against this intruder. It was silly. But what isn’t silly is real threats against the garden of my own heart and the hearts of my family members. Scripture teaches us that there’s an enemy of our souls, and my daughters’ list of questions sparked a new awareness of ways I protect myself from “anything that contaminates body and spirit.” That groundhog contaminated our garden, and we found a way to protect it. We learned to recognize the how, the when, and the why of harmful intruders. When things intrude and contaminate my own heart, might I ask myself that list of questions and devise a plan to ensure safe growth and a bountiful crop in my life? What must go deep and ascend high about my life to ward off spiritual, physical, and emotional contaminates?
Living with flair means I protect and defend against contamination when I need to.