We prune to let go of growth, letting die what is alive but not growing in the best direction. We prune to let go of death, letting go what is dead but still taking up space. Pruning is a form of dying in order for the tree to more fully live and bear more fruit.
-Br. Luke Ditewig
I'm a big believer in pruning. God has taught me so very much about my life while at the tasks of the garden. I see the hard cut back of January as the first step toward the blooms of spring.
The first time I cut roses back I did it by the book. I did the pruning. Gingerly. And then my beautiful rose-tender-of-a-neighbor, Bob, came over and told me to go harder. Angling my pruning sheers properly and removing all but about 14" of the plant, I cut, believing in his urging, kinda. A few months later, the roses were gorgeous and profuse.
Pruning then, applies well in my life. Cut back, even what's alive but not growing in the best direction. All of it becomes fodder for the sheers. Unnecessary complexities, clusters of "do," the things I take on, the stuff I collect, that thing that is dead and taking up space. Not as simple and pure as the garden work, certainly.
Christ speaks these words in John 15: “1 I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you."
Reflecting and consuming these concepts, I have to place it all on the Gardener's altar. Allow His wisdom and love to show me where to make the cut and which angle to use so that new growth is not halted, but prepared in the right season. The waiting is not without anxiousness, but filled with joyful expectation.