Ambling out to my garden on a beautiful day to pick carrots, I found that something had beat me to it. I had an infestation of pocket gophers.
Pocket gophers in Montana are cute, furry rodents you almost never see. Fresh dirt mounds and tunnels through your nicely prepared plantings are their daily calling card. Gnawed through vegetables and root systems is the effect on the veggies you’ve been tending all summer.
I seriously hate to kill them, but all of the so-called deterrents have not worked. Trapping them with a gopher-style trap sitting just inside their latest tunnel has been the only way I have found to control them.
As I surveyed the damage to the carrot bed, I realized how these little critters are so similar to negative thoughts that can eat away at the Good parts of our life.
If I allow a negative, discouraging thought tunnel into my mind without immediately trapping it, it breeds more of the same beast. Our thoughts have the ability to nourish and encourage us and others, or cut the life out of our very best intentions.
A few once-green carrot tops were lying wilted on the ground. Some of the carrots
had been chewed below the dirt line, little tooth marks patterning the surface where a green top had previously grown.
There were also a few shallow tunnels next to the carrot bed that I hadn’t previously noticed – I had been too busy! Likewise, when I’m rushing through life and not mindful of the direction of my thoughts, the destructive ones can burrow in unseen and gnaw away at my joy in purpose.
What’s left when that happens? Just like the result of the animal pests, I’m left with tell-tale mounds of fear, worry, and dissatisfaction. The part of me that is able to nourish others is chewed away and sickly. The strong mind that is able to withstand the storms that inevitably come and go – wilted.
When I am going about my day with the courage to shout my art out to the world, those un-trapped gophers leave tunnels of doubt in my bravado. They breed discouragement and fear that weakens my voice.
After seeing the destruction in my outdoor garden from neglect, I have a renewed resolve to keep those critters at bay. Likewise, I’m continually on the alert to trap damaging thoughts before they become mounds of problems.
What are your gophers in life? Worry? Lack of self-confidence? Fear? Anger? The varieties can be endless. Trap them ruthlessly! If you’re having a hard time getting that done, then ask a loving friend to help you isolate and kill them. We don’t have to be at the mercy of those pests eroding away the Good we are here to do.