Tom and Katie were in love. After two years of courting, Tom finally worked up his courage to pop the question. No, not the “Will you marry me?” to Katie. The real question back in those years was the one asked of the bride’s father, “Do I have your permission to ask your daughter to marry me?”

The fateful autumn evening came when Tom dressed carefully in his Sunday best suit and came to supper with her family. Afterwards, Tom nervously cleared his throat, and turned to say the words that had been making his tense stomach churn all evening.

At the end of Tom’s stuttered request to ask Katie to marry him, her dad politely but firmly declined. Reasons were not clearly stated, but seemed to be along the lines of “You just ain’t growed-up enuff yet, boy.” Stunned, embarrassed, and angry, Tom said his goodbyes to Katie and departed, a very upset and offended young suitor.

The next evening Tom drove by a twenty-acre parcel of land owned by his would-have-been father-in-law. Not just any twenty acres, this piece of bottom land was the finest in the area. Lovingly tended for years, it boasted fertile black soil with few weeds and had long ago been cleared of trees. Envied and coveted by every farmer for miles around.

A vengeful Tom stopped his old truck and from the back pulled out sack after sack of weed seeds. He then proceeded to scatter his revenge. After several hours of work, he climbed back into his old Ford and sped away, smiling in bitter satisfaction that he had taught the old man a lesson he wouldn’t soon forget.

Six months later, Katie’s dad had reconsidered his decision, undoubtedly due to his daughter’s pleas and unending tears. The evening came when over another supper, he gruffly informed Tom that he would be allowed to marry his daughter. In fact, he had talked it over with the wife and they had decided on their wedding gift.

You guessed it… the twenty acres of land now so splendidly seeded with noxious weeds.

Tom spent the next thirty years of marriage wordlessly fighting those weeds of revenge. Why that perfect piece of land had suddenly gone weedy was a secret he kept to himself. He had absolutely no one else to blame for the years of struggle and hard work.

Revenge often comes with a high price tag. All too often the cost is a lifetime of regret, with the added taxes of guilt. It has been said, “The one who is seeking revenge should dig two graves. One for the person you are punishing, and the other for yourself.”

(I have to wonder…. did perhaps someone drive by and see Tom that night as he was seeding? Someone who went straight to Katie’s dad? If so, again….revenge has a high cost. Because for thirty years, Dad’s beloved Katie suffered right along with her husband.)

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