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Monday, 3 October 2016


Fern-like rowan tree leaves, tingeing with hints of yellowing as summer segues into autumn. The diminutive tree pushes weak shoulders against towering larch and majestic Norwegian elm.

Bending branches sway as tiny birds bob in and out, seeking shelter, nibbling berries which are colouring up now as leaves fade. Garishly blushing bunches of orange berries flash temptation and yet within them lurks something sour. Birds peck or gorge on what, for me, would turn my stomach and make me sick.

A twisting tangle of trunks rise from the root – unpruned, undirected, aimless and often weak. Were a skilled gardener to saw and clip and prune the rowan tree, directing its growth into one or two trunks, then they might be strong and well-aimed, able to reach the sunlight and flourish in that space uniquely its own.

Life draws us into doing many good things, but we can miss the best. Like Mary and Martha. The good things, like the berries on those weak branches, may nourish. But be willing to be pruned by a Gardener, and the one or two special talents which God has uniquely gifted you with can produce sweeter fruit, with no poisonous aftertaste, in greater abundance to feed even more, deeply satisfying  hungers perhaps as yet unrecognised.

Pruning is painful but today I offer myself to the Gardener. Prune me – not just the intrinsic me, but the extrinsic activities which steal time, precious time.

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