Friday, December 09, 2005

A Good Pruning

Did a little pruning today. I’ve got about 15 blueberry bushes that I planted 20 years ago and they’ve gotten a little out of control since I branched out with my education. Now that I’m back and paying a little more attention to our little plot of earth, the bushes have been staring at me like a green man looking out from under eyebrows of tangled twigs. The biggest one took the biggest hit today. It was far too tall to pick berries without a ladder and too tangled to even reach in and pick them.

I really cut the thing back and I’m a little worried that I might have gone too far. It won’t produce much this year and I’ll have to keep an eye on the sprouts that’ll shoot out in a long, straight crop of buggy whip-looking wood that won’t do anything toward making berries for this coming season. I’ll need to trim them to force smaller sprouts out lower on the bush.

The second bush wasn’t so tangled and I left a lot of berry-producing branches on it but I did a pretty good number on it too. I still have a bunch to do but this is the first year since I’ve had them that I started pruning this early in the year. I hope I’m doing the right thing by them. I certainly love blueberries and especially love walking by them and stripping the twigs of a hand full of thumb-sized berries. When they’re ripe in late July and early August, they’re sun-warmed and full of juice. It just makes my mouth water to think about them.

When I’m squeezing my loppers through a thick branch or clipping dead wood off of the living with my shears, I can’t help but think about God’s work in my life. I also wonder if he worries about me and how I’ll respond to the cutting. My bushes are a little more predictable than I and in some ways a little more resilient. After all, with the bushes, I’m dealing with wood and roots; God’s dealing with free will and a fragile ego. I’m never sure where those sprouts will pop out but God has to anticipate a thousand different probable outcomes with me. If he prunes this, will I move there? If this is whacked, will I flare up with anger or cower in pain? If that little habit is isolated and pointed out, will another as bad or worse show up?

I’m not sure he knows what’ll happen. I think it’s possible that God is able to calculate out the whole spectrum of possible outcomes for every scenario. But I don’t believe he can absolutely know which choices I’ll make until I make them. Granted, he may know before I’m fully conscience of my decision but he allows me my “head” (as horsemen call it when they loosen the rein and allow the horse to pick the path).

Out of that comes two things. One is that there is a sense of control for me. I can choose to be aware of God’s work in my life and respond in the best possible way. In my dealings with fruit, I don’t have to consider that the plants are aware of me as I am of the inner and outer workings of God in my life. It’s true that I’m dealing with a living thing just as is God, but it’s not quite the same. My bushes have no conscience ability to shoot a sprout here, die off there or flower at all. I can choose and be aware of choosing to go with the work of God in my life or not. I have some control until the day I die and possibly beyond.

Second, God must indeed have the pleasure and the agony of cropping, pruning and weeding a sentient (aware) being. It must be infinently tedious to work on the likes of this man who is just as capable of raring up to fight tooth and nail as he is to dive under a rock and hide (along with infinite variations on those extremes). I enjoy pruning, especially when I’m working with shaping. I’m not very knowledgeable about pruning fruit but I can shape a tree to make a beautiful thing. It’s not hard for me to believe that God is challenged by the work. Pruning for me is a work of art. I am too. God’s work in my life is a thing of beauty and as my soul grows it’s own way under the care of such a master artist and gardener, it becomes a masterpiece. I’m just not there yet – not quite.


At Monday, 12 December, 2005 , Blogger Meredith said...

"God’s work in my life is a thing of beauty and as my soul grows it’s own way under the care of such a master artist and gardener, it becomes a masterpiece. I’m just not there yet – not quite."

Ahhh, but you are there! And you have always been there. Pure and perfect, you are an expression of God's fine handicraft. There is a fullness blossoming within you, dear Ken. Grow yourself right into it, and allow yourself the freedom to express it in all that you do. Don't hold it back from us. Don't prune it to look just right. Let it blossom!


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