Three years ago, I blogged with joy about how we turned Velvetleaf into a beautiful indoor arrangement. You remember the story: My mother and I discovered this unwanted, invasive, terrible weed in the pumpkin patch at the fruit farm.
We created the most lovely bouquet. I boasted about how living with flair meant turning the obnoxious weed that nobody wanted into something beautiful.
But if you remember the story, the farmer warned us: “You do not want this anywhere near your home! Even one seed will destroy your yard! You can never get rid of velvetleaf. Don’t do it.”
I did it. And in summer, I threw the bouquet into the compost bin next to my berry patch because I wanted something fresh for my living room. I hadn’t been to my berry patch for a month or so, and I venture out this morning to find this:
I was warned and didn’t listen. Velvetleaf now covers my berry patch. My poor strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Immediately, I remembered with shame how even a little sin—something that seems beautiful that nevertheless plants a seed into the heart—will take over my life and choke the landscape of my soul. I remember how David cried out in Psalm 139: “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. Find out if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!”
Velvet leaf—such a small, harmless looking thing—harbors toxins that destroy plants, blocks light from your crop, stays viable in soil for 50 years, is highly competitive with anything around it, knows how to block herbicides, releases chemicals to starve other plants, and if you crush it, it thrives.
I remember the warning from the farmer I never heeded today. And I praise God that “He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
I learn today the damaging results of winter. This season, combined with the effects of drying heat in my home, makes us feel brittle and cracked. There’s barely any moisture: we shock each other every time our bodies meet, our hair stands on end, and we suffer from congestion and raw skin.
I wake up with sinus pain and achy joints. As I tell my pharmacist all my winter woes this morning, I’m simultaneously piling up medications for congestion and sinus headache. He leans over the counter and tells me my problems will more likely be solved by simple moisture. “Save your money,” he tells me.
That’s a pharmacist with flair.
Humidify whatever space I’m in. Boil water on the stove. Pour the boiling water over a tray of vapor rub. Drink liquids all day long. All day long. In a season like this, we don’t have the luxury of relaxing into our environment. We assume a vigilance to make our indoor spaces suitable.
With these things in place–the liquids, the humidifier, the steam vapor–I then relax and breathe. I drink deeply and breathe deeply to survive such a season as this.
The solution of simple moisture for what’s physically brittle and cracked reminds me of my journey towards spiritual health. I drink deeply of truth and breathe deeply of spirit–setting things in place in my environment to do so–so I might experience the kind of health that goes deeper than this cracked skin and congestion.
Journal: How am I adjusting my physical and spiritual environment towards health?