Every year we say it – “Isn’t it getting dark early?”, as if somehow we are once again surprised. Although the nights are beginning to draw in, I must admit that autumn is a wonderful time of year. Summer clothes are pushed to one side and out come the thick jumpers, along with colourful hats and scarves. Then we are spoiled by the breath-taking way that nature shows off its array of colours. Last year, driving past Roath Lake one Saturday morning, with the sun’s reflection bouncing off the water, I looked up the road to see all the different reds, browns, yellows, oranges – what a sight! But of course in a few more weeks the leaves will drop and cause havoc in our drains! After providing such a wonderful spectacle, they become a nuisance. However it is an essential part of the yearly cycle. The old must go to make room for the new life that blesses us in spring. It’s the same in our gardens. Now is a perfect time for pruning, making sure everything doesn’t grow back to a hideous size next year. Thinking I was up to the task, I hacked away (I can’t prune apparently) at my wife’s Aaron Lily which was planted in memory of our dog (it’s ok, I know what you are thinking!). Anyway, spring came around again, but no sign of life. Every day, doing the dishes and looking out of the window I would say a silent prayer for the plant – and my wellbeing! – but still no life. Even when everyone else’s plants looked huge and so …green, still no change. Starting to worry, I had flashbacks of my wife saying “you’ve killed it!”, “No darling, I’m sure the brown stump has grown a centimetre taller”. Wishful thinking on my part.
As I ponder on my near misfortune, I often think how we need to prune some stuff back in our lives. Yes, garden greenery and household clutter are good practical starts, but what about all the things in life that deprive us of our quality time with family and friends; prevent us from exploring new hobbies; having fun; strengthening our relationships and exploring new ones – all those hours we won’t see again? What stresses and busyness of life prevent this enjoyment? What is it that we all need to prune back or change again this year?
From the perspective of my Christian faith God is depicted as the gardener and maintains His garden with care. This is reflected in one of Jesus’ teaching where He says “I AM the true Vine, and my Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful”. Sobering words, but if you know there is ‘stuff’ that needs pruning or changing, are you prepared to trust the Gardener to show you the areas in life that need attention? Hmmm – thought provoking!
Just to let you know, the Aaron Lily survived and, although it was slow growing back, the flowers were amazing! But next time I’ll let the Master do the pruning!