Fathom Mag

Published on:
April 2, 2019
Read time:
2 min.
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The Plant That Was Actually A Weed

“Why didn’t you tell me it was a weed?” I ask him.

“Because you love it. And besides, weeds are just a social construct,” he explains, smiling.  

When was the last time I let someone love and water a weed?
Rachel Joy Welcher

Inch after inch of bright green leaves with no flowers in sight. Of course it’s a weed. I laugh and shake my head, touching the reddish stem that has grown three times as tall as my lilies and now reaches my waist. 

In the morning I would visit it, along with the rest of my garden. Native Iowans would have known better and plucked it right away, but I encouraged its roots to run deep beside my flowers. And he let me. I would show him the different leaves and buds, guessing at what they might become and he’d just smile, never correcting me.  

Too often, I think that love means taking the stubborn jar of peanut butter out of a child’s hand and opening it for them. Ending the struggle. Fixing the problem. But Evan knows better. He knows that it’s ok to let someone nurture a weed and grow fond of it. That sometimes, most times, it is wiser to let a person learn the truth of a thing themselves. 

The author of Ecclesiastes said: “There is a time to plant and a time to pluck that which is planted.” I eventually unrooted that beautiful four-foot-tall weed and we had another good laugh about it as I dusted the dirt off my jeans and chucked the plant carcass behind our back fence. 

And I’m wondering lately, as I watch and learn from my husband, if patience is the truest action of love. If talking and correcting and underlining the right verse for someone is less often about kindness and more often about my own convenience. 

When was the last time I let someone work through a problem by letting them talk it through while I listened quietly on the other end of the line? When was the last time I let someone’s question linger? When was the last time I let someone love and water a weed?

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Rachel Joy Welcher
Rachel Joy Welcher is an editor-at-large at Fathom Magazine and an Acquisitions Editor for Lexham Press. She earned her MLitt. from The University of St. Andrews. She is the author of two collections of poetry: Two Funerals, Then Easter and Blue Tarp, and the book, Talking Back to Purity Culture: Rediscovering Faithful Christian Sexuality (InterVarsity Press, 2020). You can follow her on Twitter @racheljwelcher.

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