I have two large hydrangea bushes next to my front walk. They supply me with a bounty of lovely, blue blooms every year. Ever since I moved in, I have allowed them to grow unimpeded because they bring so much beauty into my life.
The problem is that they tend to grow into the path to the front door. And, every year they venture farther and farther into the walkway, until this year we had to step off the path and into the dirt just to get to the house.
So, it was with a heavy heart that I grabbed my clippers and headed to the bushes.
As I filled my wheelbarrow with healthy, green branches and big, gorgeous blooms, I felt so much sadness. But, I also thought about how the pruning mimicked what I needed in my own life.
I tend to take on more and more responsibility until my way is clogged. Some of the things I add to my plate bring beauty to myself or others, but some of my responsibilities take on a life of their own and threaten to choke out the path I want to travel on.
As I continued cutting, I uncovered branches that were old and withered. They weren’t producing anymore, but they were so hidden by other branches that I didn’t even realize they were there. I wondered what things in my life I cling to that need to be snipped away because they aren’t adding anything of any value.
I also found branches that were so filled with blooms that the main stock had broken off the bush. If I had only cut some of the flowers off earlier the branch could have been saved. What busyness do I add to my days that cause me to break away from my source of nourishment?
The lower branches I cut off were hiding weeds that had grown up and wrapped themselves around new, young branches and I wondered where I have allowed weeds to grow in my own life. Have I allowed things to flourish unnoticed until they choke out what could have been new growth in me?
Some of the branches I cut off hid things of beauty. I unearthed tiny forget-me-nots (one of my favorite flowers). In the chaos of my world, what things of beauty am I missing because they’re hidden by all the minutia that fill my days?
As I piled branches on the compost pile, I pulled a few blooms off to keep. The late season blossoms aren’t as brilliant in color as the vibrant new spring blooms. But, these muted ones are the kind that have lasting value. Instead of quickly wilting, they dry nicely and add beauty to my life in the winter months. How many things in my life do I ignore because they don’t shout for my attention? Are they things that would have added a lasting value?
I’m done pruning for now and I can once again see the path to the door. And, while I had to cut out some things of beauty, what’s left are sturdy, new branches that will flourish because they’ve been given room to grow in new directions.
So, what branches are choking out your path? And, what do you need to cut out to keep yourself nourished and growing in the right direction?