I happily sawed & cut, clearing away mounds of what appeared, at a distance, to be healthy limbs. And, as happens when I’m lost in the garden, thoughts floated in and out of my loosely focused mind. As if offering the plants an explanation for their sudden & severe nakedness, I heard myself thinking, ‘I’m pruning to improve your health. This cutting away will insure a future vitality, & a usefulness that’s in line with my plan for this home.’
Did my holly bushes hear my thoughts? Did they know why they were being reduced almost to stubble? I highly doubt it. Did they even care? Not likely.
And then it struck me: it wasn’t me thinking thoughts toward my bushes, it was the Holy Spirit – using measures He knows I will perfectly understand – speaking to me about my own life, my own struggles with change and search for purpose.
See, the past few years have been a bit of a struggle; sort of an existential wrestling with who I am, why I’m here, & the purpose for my life. Like my hollies, this has been a season of the loss of what appeared, at a distance, to be healthy ‘limbs.’ I’ve felt exposed at times, vulnerable & shorn, but also felt a sense of humility and openness to possibility that I’ve never experienced. There’s an urgency toward creativity that has been surprising & fresh – having never really thought myself creative. Through all of this: my wrestling, my mistakes, losses & gains, I’m gleaning a tender understanding of the process of life, discovery, & the nature of forgiveness.
I’m at a turning point, in a manner of speaking, having been cut back almost to stubble. I’ve felt the severity of that naked vulnerability, and yet the assurance of the Gardener’s wisdom. I don’t know why, or what it was, but there must have been a mold of some sort afoot, which could only be cleared away with the cutting away of pulp. I know that some things can only be grown healthy after a severe & harsh pruning. But unlike my hollies, I have heard the voice of the Gardener, and I know that after this, there is vitality, health & usefulness. I know, too, that it’s all in line with the Gardener’s plan for this ‘home.’
Never before has winter seemed so long or so severe, but I know there is a Spring coming. And I know it’s coming for me.