the garden of destruction
March 20, 2012
Today is officially the first day of spring even though we had snow this morning and the temperature is still chilly. Although it is hard to detect the real signs that winter is finally over,the gardeners have been busy and you can hear them working around the complex with their machines. The growing season has once again descended upon us.
I do not know anything about growing plants and I do have a tendency to kill anything I try to grow. It is certainly one of the perks of living in a town house complex as you do not have to worry about the maintenance of your landscape. Years ago when we had our own garden we had contracted the work out and even though I never had to dig around in the dirt, I did learn one important principle of gardening. It started the evening when I returned home and found to my dismay that the once luscious plum-tree was reduced to an almost unrecognizable trunk. Gone were the beautiful leaves and the promises of fruits. To make matter worse, I discovered all my rose bushes were chopped down to their stumps, all the beautiful flowers were gone. The garden looked totally destroyed! It looked like my gardener had taken his anger out on the poor plants and sheared everything to death ! We were so upset by the destruction of our garden that we had decided not to renew our contract the next season. We figured that our contractor really did not know anything about gardening. But then after the dead of the winter, something strange happened, we noticed in early spring that tender young shoots started to spout, and before you knew it our rose bushes were not only blooming but they were healthier. And our plum-tree, which now stood a little shorter had became fuller….. then it dawned on us that our gardener did know what he was doing, he needed to prune back all the plants in order for them to grow stronger.
I could not put this better and funnier than Pasty Clairmont who relates her expereince in the Women of Faith Blog:
“Some years ago my husband bought a super duper riding lawn mower. Les could hardly wait to try out his new toy, excuse me, his new equipment. He even bought a spiffy hat for his maiden voyage, so Les was looking good. He revved up the powerful motor, careened out the garage door, onto the grass, where he lowered the mower, shifted into high gear, and proceeded to barrel right through my flower bed.
That was not what Les meant to do. That was not what I wanted him to do. By the time Les lifted the mower and made his way out of the flowers my hydrangea bush looked like a handful of pickup sticks, my roses were potpourri, and my butterfly bush was not fit for a gnat. This was not purposeful pruning at its best.
Even so would you believe the following year those bushes came back with gusto. They were full of gorgeous blossoms. And the year after that they were show stoppers. Folks were actually stopping to take pictures of them.
It’s really a reminder that what others do accidentally or spitefully can be used to cause us to flourish. Doesn’t that remind you of Joseph from Genesis? If you remember his life looked like nothing but hardship and injustice. From sibling jealousy, to female revenge, to ingratitude, Joseph’s story looked like he had been mowed down and discarded. But God used it all as pruning to cause Joseph to grow into a wise leader.”
Nobody wants tragedy or destruction into their lives, but they are very much part of our journey here on earth. It is so easy to let trouble times bring us down and let discouragment consume us. But Josepeh’s account remind me the very important lesson of spiritual pruning : what seems hurtful and harmful at the moment is used by God as opportunties for us to grow. It is only after the dormancy and the death in the winter months that will bring forth growth in another season.
The Gardener knows what He is doing.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. ” John 15:1-2