For those of you who read my personal blog, Signs of Life: Adventures of an Everyday Soul, you have seen this post before. I just felt led to share it here.
I love spring. I love the bursting forth of new life. I love the possibility of new growth. I love green and bright yellow and red and blue. I love the bright rainbows of color after the white and gray of winter. I love to grow stuff. Stuff in my garden, stuff in my flower bed, stuff in the yard. I am NOT a fan of the allergies that come with spring, but I understand the necessity.
I am new to gardening/plant caretaking. It’s only been in the last few years that I have learned to heed my father’s (he is a builder of parks…he knows a thing or two- or a million- about getting things to grow) advice about being a gardener. I remember the first time he told me that I had to prune my rosebushes all the way back to the original stalk to get the best growth. Or when I grew my first tomato plant and he told me to cut all the runners off except for the top two. I was aghast!
“REALLY, Daddy? I have to chop down my entire rose bush? It will never grow back!”
“Well, it will still grow without it, but it won’t get strong. There is a great power in pruning.”
And after my first couple of years with leggy, pouty roses and 4 tomatoes to a plant, I wholeheartedly agree. There is power in pruning.
This morning, I noticed that my flowerbed in the front yard is coming to life- YAY! I also noticed that I had done a poor job of putting it to sleep last fall and had not pruned back all the growth last year. In an effort to let it flower just a little longer I let my Morning Glory and Clematis twine together and continue to grow through the very mild fall. By the time I realized they had started their winter hibernation, it was cold and so I left the dry vines on the trellis. But there she is, starting to climb, my pretty purple Clematis.
When I arrived home this morning, I decided to take down the dry brush and make way for the new spring growth. So I don my gloves, my pruning shears and head to the trellis to cut through the dead branches. The Clematis is growing beautifully….twining it’s way around all the nasty, dried up, last year’s growth.
Wow…what a visual for my life.
I am growing, beautifully…producing fruit even, beautiful large purple flowers that praise My Great Gardener’s Care….but, somewhere along the way, I forgot to clear out the brush. The dry, brittle, straw-like branches that don’t bring life. And I am climbing and twining my way up those dry branches. Twisting and turning, grabbing hold tight to the ugly, dead parts of my life. Parts that will hold me back, tie me down and choke out the beauty that I am capable of showing.
Just as I don’t want that ugliness in my flower bed, God doesn’t want it in our lives either. So what does a good gardener do? A good gardener prunes away the dead, to make room for the Life. And, sometimes…there are casualties. Sometimes, the live, fruit producing branches are so entwined with the dead ones that there are only two choices:
1) Let all the ugliness stay
2) Prune both away.
Does it hurt the Clematis…yes a bit…but she will have more energy to produce more flowers…big beautiful, glorious flowers.
But it really hurts the Gardener! As a gardener, I feel sad for the Clematis…she has done good work, but it is necessary for her to continue to grow. I feel a bit of anxiety, that she will stop growing all together, and thus never fully step into the potential that I see for her. I wonder how much I can prune, without killing the vine altogether.
As my Great Gardener prunes away the dry and dead brush from my life, I wonder if he feels this pain…no wait, I know he must feel this pain. The pain a Father feels when he is disciplining His daughter. I am saddened that I left the dead brush in place and in my zeal to grow for Him have enmeshed my new growth in my old,dead flesh.
Dear Lord, come and prune away the dead and dying brush from my life. Make way for new life in me. I am sorry that I have entangled the gifts that you have given me with the my old habits of doing things. I am ready to cut away the old, even if I must sacrifice some of the new so that I may reflect only your beauty, only your glory. Make me beautiful in Your eyes, O God, and train me how to grow to Your potential for my life. I love you. Amen.
What dry brush do you need to clean out in order to make way for new growth?