Dear God,

Why did you create so many bluebells?

IMG_1111They are I suppose beautiful in their place. But in our vegetable garden they are an invasive species and an enormous nuisance. Even our marauding deer, who will happily devour almost any vegetation they find, turn their noses up at bluebells.

Their bulbs lie deep in the ground, almost impossible to extract without major excavation. Left unattended they multiply at an alarming pace. Their abundance of leaves and flowers each spring choke out all the more tender indigenous flora and will certainly destroy any vegetable garden where they are permitted to spread.

The perennial bluebell, or Hyacinthoides non-scripta, is native to the United Kingdom where in woodland areas it is a protected species. But it does not belong in my backyard.

In order to eradicate bluebells from my garden, I must be vigilant in their removal for at least three years in a row, an unlikely discipline despite my best intentions. The property on which I live is far too large ever to be fully rid of the bluebell invasion.

The nuisance of the bluebell is here to stay.

I must learn to live with the inconvenience of these little blue flowers and their deep green leaves. The best I can hope for is to confine them, keeping them away from the places where they can most damage my somewhat erratic attempts to propagate edible vegetation.

Perhaps the real problem is less the bluebell than my frustration with its profusion. It is not the bluebell’s fault that it multiplies so efficiently in this environment it was never intended to inhabit. God is certainly not to blame for the fact that some long-ago well-intentioned British visitor to our shores decided to share the first bluebell in the then wide open spaces of western Canada.

Bluebells inhabit every part of life. Life is full of things that are inconvenient, uncomfortable, awkward, and confusing. If I let the bluebells upset the equilibrium of my life I will life in constant turmoil reacting to every irritant that pops up.

Philippians 4:7 holds out the possibility of a peace

which surpasses all understanding, and will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Bluebells cannot dislodge a peace “which surpasses all understanding.” Such a peace does not depend upon a perfect garden; it is not tied to a life that runs smoothly without any upsets along the way.

There is no circumstance that can produce a peace “which surpasses all understanding.” The peace Paul promises is an inner quality; it resides in a heart that is surrendered to the One who makes bluebells and allows them to grow in miraculous profusion in even the most inconvenient places.

We come to this peace “which surpasses all understanding” when we give up our need for a life free of irritants, obstacles and difficulties.

I do not know why God created so many bluebells and made them so much more adept at growing than the lettuce, tomatoes and kale I hope my garden will produce. But, there is no point in resisting the bluebells in my life. I will do what I can to manage them, but will always know that each blueberry bulb I remove will be replaced by another, or by Himalayan blackberries, Scotch broom, or wild Daphne.