Friday, July 25, 2014

Pruning roses

Yesterday I pruned a front yard of roses for an elderly couple in our church. It's been a long time since I've pruned that many roses in one hand was throbbing last night as I went to bed. It still hurts to pick up a heavy kettle this morning. But it was a very satisfying job. I really enjoy the process of pruning roses. Pulling weeds? Not so much. Mowing the lawn? Um, no. But pruning roses is a quiet joy.

It's meditative. You think of very little else as you cut. And it's like a puzzle. You look closely at the stems, finding the right swelling of the branch to cut back to and all the time mentally mapping the future growth of the plant to create the right shape and ensure that you don't have branches crossing over each other. Should you keep this branch at all? How hard should it be cut back? You are planning out invisible future branches and making something beautiful that hasn't grown yet.

If rose pruning isn't a great metaphor for life, I'll go he. So many of the smaller spindly branches need to be cut off entirely. But you know that there are branches there that will bear blooms. If you are pruning early in the season, some of them still are bearing blooms. You are cutting off potential. But if you don't, the future potential of the plant is reduced. You cut so that it will bloom more wonderfully and you shape to reduce the likelihood of disease and weakness.

Lately, I've been chewing again on busyness and tasks and opportunities and priorities. It's like the question that never goes away. I was re-reading this post from Jenny which is an echo of my own thoughts at the moment. It is not possible for me to the perfect mother and wife, perfect employee, perfect church member, perfect friend, perfect citizen and so on all at the same time. I need to accept that my "pruning" of various opportunities is not a mark of failure but an effort at blooming better in the long run.


Sarah said...

I think churches need to do 'pruning' too. Sometimes there are just way too many activities and not enough people without causing burnout. Everyone could make their point about why that certain activity is helpful and who has benefited from it, but we can't do everything and some things just have to go to maintain the overall health of the church body. I'm slowly learning that just because something seems like a good opportunity and someone else tells me I should do it, it doesn't mean it's a wise option.
Great post!

Deb said...

@Sarah: That's such a good point!!!