I awoke to a beautiful Autumn morning! As I ventured out onto my back patio with my morning coffee, the chilled morning air kissed me with reminders that summer had gone into hibernation. I took a seat in my old wicker chair and celebrated the glory of a new day. The birds were singing, the breeze was playing with the dried grass on the hill before me and the changing leaves seemed to be clapping with the wonder of the entry of a season of slowing.
Peace wove its way through me as I sat there…
After an hour or so of awaking to the day I decided I needed to put on my gardening gloves and groom my perennials…. my gardens were beginning to look like a shaggy dog in need of a haircut.
As I began my work of gathering the stems of flowering plants to cut, my child mind had a child-like thought, “Do flowers cry?”
I was deep pruning, which meant even some of the flowers were being cut away. Plants need to be cut back in order for new and stronger growth to occur. The plant carries no resemblance to beauty in this in-between stage, but as it continues to grow, the pruning pays off by producing a vibrant plant.
I know you know where this little illustration is headed, but before I take you there, I want to share with you about a transaction that took place while I was cutting away the dead plant growth and discovering some of the flowers were falling as well. My inmost being was gathering a very painful, literal lesson while my hands worked. I could feel the hands of God around mine, and I found my life in the life of the plant.
No, I’m not “physco” (just in case you were wondering…).
My Divine Gardener has been deep pruning my life for five years. It is though the garden of my life has been in a perpetual season of cutting back, removals and change. So often I have wondered what, if anything, is being re-planted, or if any new growth is emerging. Often my head has been slugging to tell my heart that it’s still alive, and that eventually the Gardener just might rest His hand.
What other option do my plants have but to stand still within my working hands? I suppose if my name was Alice they could talk back to me, (maybe even bite me!) but no, they yield themselves to the process of greater beauty. Perhaps this is why we are instructed in the Word to be still and trust God in our “pruning season”? We have the option to fight, to run, to resist, to talk back, to grow bitter, sad, angry, self-pitying, and even to quit, and yet we are called to the higher ground of simply “being still” and to “knowing” that the Gardener knows the why behind His work.
Listen to what Jesus taught in the book of John:” I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit HE PRUNES, THAT it may bear MORE fruit…..abide in me, and I in you. As the branch CANNOT bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, UNLESS you abide in Me. I AM THE VINE; YOU ARE THE BRANCHES. Whoever abides in me and I in Him, he it is that bears much fruit, for APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING” (15: 1-5).
Isn’t it amazing how so much of the Word of God is illustrated to us through Creation? What if He had not chosen to create tangible beauty for us to touch, and see and smell and taste and hear?
If I can trust my own gardening hands with the life of my plants, than surely I can trust the hands of the One who not only created the plants I steward, but who also created me!?
He alone knows the why behind the pruning, He alone sees my life as a whole, it’s past, present and future.
By my “being still” (Psalm 46:10) I am “abiding”. I am walking with intention and in knowledge that God is in COMPLETE control of my life. Trust comes as a result of this knowledge which leads us into an intimate relationship with the Divine Gardener. Trust in Him will KEEP me abiding, living in and walking alongside and in stride with HIS ways for my life, even as He removes the unproductive parts of my life.
Another thought remains; in the pruning of my plants, the root is not disturbed, it remains secure with its vein like fingers reaching deep into the earth. Life emerges from the root, life is found in the root. The above ground splendor of groweth is there BECAUSE of what the ROOT produces, and not that of the flower.
God is our life source, our “root”, the “vine” (read the above scripture again), and the why behind the beauty in our lives.
In all of God’s pruning, He WILL NOT, nor will He EVER CHANGE (James 1:17, Mal. 3:6). He remains the constant constant, (yes, I meant to repeat that word..).
I sign off today with a quote from Parker Palmer:
” Autumn constantly reminds me that my daily dyings are necessary precursors to new life. If I try to “make” a life that defies the diminishments of autumn, the life I end up with will be artificial, at best, and utterly colorless as well. But when I yield to the endless interplay of living and dying, dying and living, the life I am given will be real and colorful, fruitful and whole.” (from Palmer’s book”Let Your Life Speak”)
ENJOY your Autumn season dear reader, and as with every season, “this too shall pass.”