Ordinarily, I hate weeding. But today something is different. Today it gives me peace.
Here I am in Sandstone Minnesota, at Abraham’s Table Farm for two weeks. It’s
becoming an annual trip I make to see good friends, get away from normal life, and work
hard out in the sun with people I love. The day is Friday May 29th. I’d normally be
excited for the weekend after a long week of work. It usually includes pizza, beer, games,
and good conversations. But today, I don’t feel right.
Four days ago, a Minneapolis police officer brutally murdered an unarmed
black man who had committed no crime, in broad daylight. This is yet another police
murder in a string of killings that have happened in the past few months. This time
I’m not quite 2 hours from where the killing took place, and as I watch the news, protests
erupt across the country, protesting turns into rioting, and in many cities the violence is
out of control on both sides of the line. My heart is heavy, it’s burdened down by the
brutality of the police against the people they’ve sworn to protect. My heart grieves with
my black brothers and sisters who are being disproportionately targeted in police violence
and killings. In those moments everything in me wants to get out there and fight along
side them, screaming for justice, crying out with them for equality and peace.
But here I am, weeding in the garden, bent over, sun on my back and wind in my
face. All I feel is anger, swirling inside my heart, quickly turning to hatred and bitterness.
Angry with the police, angry with the systems built on oppression and violence, angry
with the entire government as it has watched murder after murder and done almost
nothing to change things. I feel stuck in a world of violence and death, a world where
injustice and cruelty reigns. I question what my purpose is in a violence ridden world,
and how I can bring about peace around me. I stay knelt there, on the ground, a sense of
hopelessness beginning to wash over me.
To help ground myself I turn on my go to calming music, the soundtrack to the
Lord of the Rings films. I’m still weeding, the song Concerning Hobbits comes on,
bringing to me visions of the Shire, Hobbits gardening, cultivating the earth, but more
than anything it brings an overwhelming sense of peace. I think about the story of The
Lord of the Rings, Frodo and Sam, fighting to the end to keep peace in their community,
the fight to save the Shire from the growing darkness of Mordor. This quote came to me
as I sat there processing;
Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It's
like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and
danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Becaus