It’s called “The Second Law of Thermodynamics.” Any system left to itself becomes more disordered with time. Not something we talk about in our daily lives, but it’s certainly been on my mind a lot the last week or so.
I’m finally working in my gardens. They’ve been neglected far too long and now we’re paying the price. The old-fashioned rambling rose that climbs the picket fence around my fountain pond is beautiful this time of year. Its soft pink fragrance captivates the senses—but only if it’s controlled. Left to itself, it has overwhelmed the more well-mannered lemon-and-rose honeysuckle that complements it and crept into the flower beds inside as well. Untangling and cutting out branches guarded by razor-sharp thorns is a challenge in itself—scratches on both arms testify to that—but now wisteria that’s not even supposed to be on that side of the garden has infiltrated it, too; vining itself around every stem it touches. Each tendril must be gently unwound and identified in the midst of all those barbs. If I cut the wrong vine, long sections of breath-taking pink-and-yellow trumpets will die.
The week has been exhausting, but productive. The burn pile at the back of the property has grown exponentially. Wheelbarrow after garden cart full of weeds and cuttings and branches wait, ready for Mr. Mac’s handy-dandy propane torch to turn them to ash. But there’s still weeding and raking to be done and water features to be cleaned and repaired and old mulch to be removed and replaced. And then… Well, every gardener knows the story. Any system left to itself becomes more disordered with time.
Part of the fun of gardening is bringing order to the natural course of disorder and finding new ways to use old stuff. It’s always rewarding to see every part of the yard finally trimmed and pruned and weeded and planted. But it’s a losing battle. Even as we pull that last visible weed, others are waiting to pop their nasty little heads up and laugh at our Round-up and Preen and determined hands. And I know that as I pat soil around that last little transplant, some are already beginning to die.
The universe has been infected with entropy. It’s been likened to a wind-up clock that from its first perfect, fully wound-up moment began winding down. Any system left to itself becomes more disordered with time. And the hard reality is, so do just-mowed lawns that immediately sprout dandelions, or weeds that appear overnight around the tomato plants, or favorite shrubs that die for no good reason.
But here’s the good news: My Father is the Master Gardener and this disorder is a perfect place to celebrate His loving presence. He’s in the business of bringing life out of death (John 3:16, 12:24) and one day soon He’ll restore perfection to the garden. But for now, He’s teaching us to plant patience and harvest joy in the midst of chaos. So bring it on, demons of disorder! Your tricks only give us more reason for praise. You see, we know that in His perfect time Sovereign God will “re-wind the clock,” and then He’ll make all things new, forever. He promises. (Rev. 21:5)