The garden, summer projects, & the killing of al Qaeda

Below I am reposting something I wrote in early May 2011, upon learning the death of Osama Bin Laden. At the time, I posted it on Facebook and in a church newsletter. Facebook discontinued showing posted “notes,” so I am posting it here. After the killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden’s successor this week in Kabul, along with the carnage in Ukraine, it seems we need to be reminded again of the value of life and the tragedy of a life lived in hatred and evil. But before we go there, let me tell you about my garden. It is a more pleasant topic.

The Garden

The garden coming along nicely. Over the past week, I have enjoyed daily tomato sandwiches. The tomatoes are just beginning to come in. I grew 7 varieties from seeds and have 21 plants. Most of the tomatoes will be canned or frozen for sauce, soup and salsa.

The cucumbers are fantastic (I have 5 varieties), but they are beginning to fade out. So far, I have put up 8 quarts of lime pickles (and have another 8 quarts soaking as I write), along with 6 quarts of sweet salad cube pickles. Last summer, I was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan when the bulk of cucumbers came in and only put up one batch of pickles. I shouldn’t have to buy any this year!

In the middle of the garden (The hay is way too high and too brown, but we’ve had so much rain the farmer who cuts it just finished it this week)

I have eaten plenty of summer squash (yellow and zucchini) and have given a few away and some have ended up being recycled in my compost bin. Swiss chard is also doing well. The lettuce I finally turned over and will replant later this month.

This year, I am also growing winter squash and it appears the harvest of butternut squash will be incredible. There is no better soup than butternut squash soup, in my opinion. Acorn squash is also good to bake. Both tend to hold better than the summer squash. If you don’t eat the yellow squash in a few days, it goes soft.

My other summer project: The basement

bathroom tile

In addition to my garden, I have been working in the basement. Last week I finally finished tiling the bathroom. Next week I hope to get in the tub and toilet and be done with the bathroom A lot of the remaining work is finishing up with door trim and painting and putting in baseboard moulding. What have you been up to this summer?

The Death of Bin Laden

As an American, I went to bed happy last night after learning of the death of Osama Bin Laden. The man was capable of great evil and brought much suffering into the world. Yet I felt a tinge of guilt at the jubilation I and others were feeling. I spent much of the past 18 hours wondering about what an appropriate Christian response to Bin Laden’s death should be. How should those of us who follow the man from Galilee, who teaches us to love our enemies and to pray for our persecutors, handle the death of an enemy who has been responsible for so much evil in the world? Should we rally and jump for joy, or should we be more subdued and ponder the deeper mysteries of life and death? I think the latter is more appropriate.

In the Book of Proverbs, we’re advised not to gloat over the demise of our enemies. Such behavior is not pleasing to our God (Proverbs 24:17-18). King David had an opportunity to gloat over the death of his enemy, King Saul, whose death opened the way for David to assume the throne. But David grieved for Saul and his sons (2 Samuel 1). Death should always remind us of our humanity. Although God has created us with remarkable abilities, we are not God, and once life is gone, we cannot restore it. At the time of death, we should be humbled. Bin Laden was obviously endowed by his Creator with great talents which could have been used in ways to have alleviated suffering in the world. Instead of using his talents in such a manner, Bin Laden used his talents to build a network of hate and evil. We should grieve over a life wasted and which caused such much pain. But we should also remember that Bin Laden, although an evil man, is not the author of evil. Just because he is dead doesn’t mean that the world is going to suddenly become a harmonious place. Evil is still present. We will still face temptations and, until this age ends, we will deal with evil people. And although few of us are capable of the evil of a man like Bin Laden, none of us are completely sinless. 

At a time such as this, we should humble ourselves before God and one another, confessing our own sins and the sins of the human race. We should thank God for those who were brave enough to carry out this mission, but we should not celebrate over their accomplishment. Instead, we should continue to pray, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer, for God’s will to be done and God’s kingdom to come. And finally, we should challenge evil, not just with the sword, but with acts of charity and kindness, demonstrating the grace that our Savior has shown us.       

–Jeff Garrison
May 4, 2011

18 Replies to “The garden, summer projects, & the killing of al Qaeda”

  1. Good morning I hope you are enjoying the wonderful summer upon us and by the looks of your garden it’s doing well! I just adore this time of year, beginning from spring and hopefully a good amount of autumn this year before winter sets it ground. Take care.

  2. You’ve done well with your garden it is always so nice to eat and enjoy homegrown vegetables.

    All the best Jan

  3. That picture of your garden could be my sister’s (except, she has corn, too). She has a big garden and next door, is a field of hay that she’s wondering when the owner will mow!

    1. I know the farmer fairly well and he is way behind, but he did cut it and have the bales removed in two days! He has 125 acres of hay he cuts and I’m one of the farthest from his farm–about 6 miles a way). But he needs all the hay he can get as he feeds several hundred cows. You’re seeing a little less than 1/2 of my garden and I don’t grow corn as I don’t want to feed the raccoons.

  4. The killing of Zawahiri causes me to ponder the disturbing clinical, sterile ways that mankind has developed to take the life of another human being. While I am thankful that he and Bin Laden are no longer able to plan and plot the murders of thousands of innocents, killing is hardly a reason to celebrate.
    I agree with Ed’s comments above, I am glad the decision wasn’t mine to make.

  5. Jeff, what a wonderful article on the killing of Bin Laden. We all do need to exercise more in depth thinking in times like that. I know I was quite happy that the world was rid of him, but while I was feeling happy, God was likely grieving. That realization hurts, even though God forgives us. Remembering “Thy will be done” is so important. I believe that even though Bin Laden was so evil, God allowed him to live for His (God’s) purposes.
    Thank you, Diane

    1. We’re all created in God’s image, even the most horrific, which should give us something to ponder! Thanks for your comments, Diane.

  6. An interesting and thought-provoking post, Jeff. It’s a surprisingly complicated subject.

    Well done on the garden! We didn’t put out much effort this year, but what little we did ended up being a bust.

    1. Sorry about your garden. Mine has been bountiful. But since I live in the mountains, things come in late. My eggplants won’t be producing probably for another three or so weeks, so they better be fruitful before fall arrives!

  7. Thank you Jeff, i had not read your thoughts on the death of Bin Laden. The bible does teach us to love one another, but we are only human and succumb to our minds first, when we should think of God and his will. Life for us is short and unfortunately there is much hate even in the US that sometimes it is hard to carry on a conversation with a friend.

    You are a wise and thoughtful man. As always thank you for your words

  8. Thank you Jeff.
    I have long pondered the slaughter of millions
    Over millennium and wonder about the nature of humans that make it so easy to kill and maim one another .

    1. Sadly, we can use our intellect for evil just as easily as we can use it for good. And it seems it is easier to hate others than to be civil with those in whom we disagree. Thanks for stopping by, Bob. I hope to see you in early October when I’m in Michigan.

  9. It was probably eight or nine years ago when my wife came home with boxes of hexagonal tile she wanted installed in our bathroom. At the time I wasn’t too happy and could only think of how that just made the job more difficult. But since that installation, it has been almost non-stop installation of hexagonal tiles on bathroom floors across home improvement shows. I guess we were just starting the wave that you are now surfing with us.

    I’ve been struggling with the killing of Zawahiri. Probably the best I can do is be glad that it wasn’t me that had to make the decision because I’m not sure I could.

    1. I had only set tile once before, 20 some years ago. Those tiles were square. I like how the hexagon tiles look, but where the wall ends and the ceiling begins, I wasn’t as happy. I had to put in an “inverted tent” and then a runner piece and that part is not nearly as nice as the rest.

      I agree, I would not want to be the one to have to make such a call on such a strike.

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