As the chill of January grips us outside and our gardens are not looking their best, I am reminded that the true life of a plant lies beneath the ground. The root system of any plant is the foundation by which the beautiful form and structure of a plant is made. It is from this structure that beautiful blooms and foliage are produced. Without a strong foundation upon which to build, plants are spindly, unsupported, and can ultimately fail.
Once a strong foundation is established, the plant enjoys a season of growth, and afterwards, pruning must take place. Pruning is the cutting away of the old growth to allow for new. For many plants, pruning takes place during a period of dormancy.
I am a firm believer in pruning the dead away, in my garden and in my life. Each spring, just before my roses break dormancy, you can find me with my pruners in hand; cutting back old wood and spindly unproductive growth, and clearing away debris that the winter wind has blown in. This process allows for new vigorous growth of plants. You then apply fertilizer, and water along the way, and before you know it, you will see stunning new growth.
I apply this same principle to my life by making learning a lifelong pursuit. As long as we are open to learning and growing, things can move forward. When we stop the learning process, we tend to sit, soak, and sour, and no one wants that. Grab a new gardening book. Shelby County libraries are full of them. Plan a raised bed garden for the coming year, and then build it. There is nothing like fresh vegetables in the summer or the sight of beautiful zinnias smiling at you from the garden. It all begins with a pack of seeds and some soil. The possibilities are boundless.
Each year, I make it a point to also examine myself in such a way that can bring about change and growth. I look at old habits and see what needs to be cut back on or totally eliminated. I look at ways to eliminate the things in my life that just seem to take up time and are not productive. I also try to clear away any “junk” that I have physically and spiritually, because it’s important to nourish our bodies as well as our souls.
I am reminded in my daily scripture reading of how much we are connected to God through Christ, and that we are His workmanship, and as the passage tell us, “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 15:2 NIV). I don’t know about you, but I need to be open to spiritual “pruning” on a daily basis. I strive each day to possess the wisdom to recognize and cut away from me any bad fruit produced, to allow for that vigorous new growth I mentioned.
I am counting down the days until spring!