In a blog post of July 19, 2014, I declared my ambition to become the “Nemesis of the morning glories” in the garden out behind my church. My plan was to spend four hours per week specifically weeding the morning glories in that garden.
On Monday, October 20, 2014, I wrote, “The morning glories are vanquished. As of today, they are under control throughout the entire garden.”
There’s a 60-foot chain link fence along the west side of the garden space, and another 40-foot chain link fence along the north side. I began by working only on about the southernmost twenty feet of the chain link fence, weeding out everything within three feet of the fence, any morning glories that might possibly reach the fence within a week. The next week, I had to go over that entire same area again: they had all come back, but I was able to get them all out in that area and make progress, about five feet farther along, five feet farther north along that chain link fence. Over time, the areas I had already cleared less and less attention, so I was able to gradually make progress until the entire area was cleared, and stayed cleared.
In the end, I had come across some areas where it was clear no one had exercised any control over the morning glories for years. That fact, and the fact that I had accomplished what I had, made certain questions available. Who, if anyone, would control the morning glories next year? Hopefully, by the time the growing season starts next year, I will have a full-time job, and won’t be able to do this work on Mondays. I may be able to make arrangements to come in on Saturdays and do it; but in the end, whether I or anyone else would control the morning glories next year is a fact, a prospect completely out of my hands.
I have to content myself with the fact that what I’ve done is
the best I can do.
We have to content ourselves in life that many things we would like to have influence over are literally out of our hands.
In the search for justice, our parents made their own decisions. Previous generations made their own decisions. We weren’t there to decide for them. We can’t undo what they did. We can only seek to live justly in our relationships with one another today, and content ourselves with what we will do, as
the best we can do.
William Tell is vitally interested in autonomy, and in encouraging folk to develop autonomy, or self-rule. As to our children, we can encourage them the best we can to choose autonomy for themselves, but the decisions they make as adults are completely outside of our control. We must content ourselves with the fact that what we will do, what we do in our lives and in our communities is
the best we can do.
Pontella Mason’s “The Peaceable Kingdom” celebrates all life.