Since I was a child, Iíve watched my dad work in his garden, coaxing from the ground a variety of multi-colored vegetables: green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, corn, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, and more. While for years the garden was only a source of Saturday chores, as I grew older, I learned to love helping in the garden.
One summer, I decided to do some weeding while my dad was at work. The weeds were thick and tall, some taller than my barely five-foot frame. But imagining the surprise and relief on my dadís face made me more than willing to attack the overwhelming project.
Most of the weeds on the edges of the garden were grasses, barely resistant to being torn from the earth. Ripping them out, I quickly carved a dent into the overgrown undergrowth, careful to avoid the vegetables, careful to pull out the weeds by the roots, careful to beat off the excess dirt before tossing them outside the gardenís edge.
It wasnít long, however, before I came upon the first of the large weeds, hidden a few feet into the path. It was quite tall, and the stem was thick, as big around as two of my fingers.
Uncertain of the challenge this mini Goliath presented, I reached for the base of the stem, just above the ground, and pulled hard. Absolutely nothing happened. Over and over, I tugged against this plant, but I could not get it to budge. I tried pulling with continuous pressure. I tried tugging in short bursts of strength. I tried twisting the stem to weaken its base. Nothing worked.
I stood back from the plant to rest for a moment and rethink my strategy. I was a bit concerned now that the root system of this gigantic weed stretched miles into the ground. After all, its leaves reached above my head, and I could barely loosen the ground at its base. I considered leaving it for my dad and moving on to the smaller weeds, but I resisted the impulse. War had been declared, and I wasnít about to give up easily.
Suddenly, I had a brilliant idea. I obviously couldnít pull out my green, leafy enemy. It had become like a small garden tree. So, as with any unwanted tree, I would have to cut it down. I searched through my dadís yard tools until I found an appropriate weapon: a weed whacker. The long wooden handle connected at a 90-degree angle to a double-edged metal head. Swinging the handle like a golf club, I could hack into my weed tree just above the ground. And hopefully, the scythe-like tool would help me fell Goliath.
So with my version of slingshot and stone, I reentered the garden. I stood a few steps from the weed, raised the weed whacker high above my head and brought it down with all the force I could muster. The teeth of my weapon collided with the stem, but the resistance of the stalk made it feel as if Iíd hit a brick wall, bouncing my tool off and sending shock waves through my arms.
I swung again and again. It was as if the stem was made of steel. I rested my arms and moved in closer to assess the damage. As it turned out, the weed whacker had indeed damaged the stem. I was elated. If I just kept swinging, the plant would fall.
So I kept at it. I changed sides to cut into the stalk from all directions. I stopped occasionally to bend and twist the plant to further weaken its resistance. I hacked and swung and cut.
Finally, Goliath slowly fell to the ground, its leafy head crashing mightily to the earth.
I stood back, breathing hard but elated. I had won the victory.
Of course, I returned to work and finished the rest of the weeding. But later, I walked out of the garden that afternoon: victorious, sore and tired, but definitely wiser. No matter how much resistance or strength the enemy presents, the right tool, a lot of persistence and a little bit of faith would guarantee the victory in every battle I would face.
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