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If “A Bug’s Life” has taught me anything it’s that every single grasshopper on the entire planet is a huge jerk. Normally I wouldn’t stereotype an entire species with an innumerable population based on the actions of a few fictional characters in a fictional children’s movie, But….

Every year I plant a little garden in an attempt to support my addiction to fresh garden salsa. In preparation I pull the weeds, till the dirt, supplement the dirt, and get it ready as best I can to give the seeds and plants the best chance to thrive hoping they will produce good fruit (and veggies). Sure enough after all that work is done, and well into the watering, continual weeding and caring for the plants and just as things are starting to look good, a bunch of grasshoppers roll into town. These punks ignore every possible message that could be learned from “The Little Red Hen” and help themselves to my hard work. They flaunt their lack of proper garden etiquette as they do every year which then leads me to grabbing a BB gun and going “grasshopper hunting”. Never once have I sat down and meticulously made invitations with ribbons and doilies for all the grasshoppers in the neighborhood inviting them to party in my garden all summer long. Never once have I thought to myself “man, I really enjoy the uninvited company of these grasshoppers” or “I sure am grateful they are here eating and ruining my crops I worked so hard to grow”. Yes, I love grasshoppers… just like I love taxes, splinters, and traffic jams.

The other inevitable deterrent to my garden, your garden, yo mamma’s garden and every other garden in the world (other than an aquaponic or hydroponic gardens) is that it will also grow weeds. In fact, my weeds grow better than my plants do. I don’t plant weeds, water them, care for them, or nurture them in any way. The only attention my weeds get is my grasp as I rip them from the soil. Yet despite all this my weeds continue to be the hardy and consistent plant kingdom version of Cal Ripken Jr.. The bottom line is this: If I want anything good to come from my garden I have to continually watch over and care for my plants and seeds so they will hopefully yield forth good fruit (or veggies). Good plants are much harder to grow then weeds and If I’m not careful, my garden would eventually be overrun with, and contain nothing but weeds. President Hinckley described my entire situation perfectly when he said

“Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds”.

Here’s the kicker, and the real reason I hate grasshoppers. It’s not “that” they eat but rather “what” they eat. You would think that when they roll up to “Riley’s Garden Buffet” to eat they would dine on the abundance of strong and vigorous healthy looking weeds… but they don’t. They ignore the weeds like little kids ignore veggies at the dinner table. They focus all their effort in destroying my crops and nothing but my crops. It seems they are determined to destroy all that is good in my garden and leave nothing but weeds in their stead. The bottom line is this: Grasshoppers persuadeth no garden to do good, no, not one. Neither do weeds; neither do they who are like unto them.

What I’ve come to realize is that no matter what I do (believe me I’ve tried) weeds and grasshoppers are completely and totally inevitable. Sure, I could avoid gardening all together to hopefully avoid them, but to avoid gardening would mean I would forfeit the fruit (and veggies) I so much desire. The realization is I cannot prevent grasshoppers and/or weeds from entering my garden. All I can do if I want to yield forth good fruit (and veggies) is put forth the continual and constant effort needed to keep my garden in the best possible shape I can.

So now we reach the end of this entry… I’ve done nothing but vent about grasshoppers and weeds like this was a gardening forum rather than a LDS Blog. So what’s my angle? Rather than wrangle everything in for you, my hope with this post is that while reading you were able to catch the symbolism and comparisons within it. Realizing what each “item” of the “parable” may represent. What is the garden? What is the dirt? Who is the gardener? What are the fruits? What or who are the Grasshoppers and weeds? Once we make the connections, my hope with this post (if it made sense to anyone) is that it will cause us to look back at our own “gardens” and see what needs to be done or improved upon to ensure we all have good strong “plants” to bring forth much good “fruit”.