Pruning, by Wendy DeRaud


Springtime comes and the air warms my cold feet and hands, it warms my heart as the sun breaks through clouds and puts color into the world. I look forward to time spent outdoors again, and I see my garden needs tending to.

For over the Winter, I wasn't paying much attention to it. I let the dew and the rain do the watering, and if it was dry, I often forgot to help. My corkscrew plant died from my neglect and that made me sad. The orange tree had lost many leaves which had curled and were bleached to a sickly tone. Oranges hung exposed on sparse branches, lonely and chilled.






Ivy, the orange tree's sworn enemy, I discovered, had come in to overwhelm the beds below. Ivy is a persistent and relentless tormenter. Everywhere I looked, its tentacles were reaching, wanting to grab and hold on selfishly.






I pulled at its vines and found it much easier than I thought to uproot them one by one. Before too long, I had a big pile of ivy that I had been able to pull out, and I now could see a rich soft bed underneath the tree, ready for the medicine that would bring back healthy leaves to shade next year's fruit.

But not all pruning is that easy. Pruning is hard.


Sometimes I am reluctant to prune some of the branches, it feels like I'm robbing and hurting the plant of its beauty and growth, I want to save and protect each part.

But my saving isn't always helpful, the pruning must be done. When new leaves form on long, spindly branches, they weren't pruned when needed, and now it seems too late. It is worth cutting them back even now, to make for a more beautiful and full plant, making room for the flowers that grace the plant, and wouldn't come if they weren't pruned.


“Better to be pruned to grow than cut up to burn.” John Trapp

It is also pruning time for me.


Pruning my soul is what God does to bring more beauty out of me. It sometimes hurts, to be vulnerable to the sharp sheers of my letting go, or to the blinding light of exposure, uprooted from harmful habits of thought that have kept me tangled, blocking growth, distorting beauty, overtaking who I really am and want to be. Ouch.


But when I allow myself to be pruned, I am really free.


I see black garbage bags piled up, one after the other, filled with leaves and endless vines of ivy. I think to myself, how long have I neglected to take care of my garden, these necessary chores? When I prune, I help the trees breathe, I keep them from being choked up by the clutter. When I  let myself be pruned, I too can unload unnecessary parts of myself, and I can breathe more freely, let in more light, keep myself protected and nourished.


The same thing happens when I am brave and edit my writing, delete paragraphs without cringing, or throw away a bad drawing, crumple up wads of paper without flinching. This is a new season and I need to make room for it by more pruning.


Something more beautiful is sure to come. 




"Orchid", oil painting by Mark DeRaud