Last updated 10/12/2014 at 7:52pm
I remember how I helped my mother and loved working in the garden with her as a young child. It gave us time together. As we worked, she always told a story. I guess what I didn't realize then, was the way she was teaching me life's lessons, in parables.
All plants need pruning. Sometimes I thought she was wrong when she cut off first blossoms and extra foliage.
"Why do you take off the nicest parts?" I continually asked.
Her answer was always the same: "Because I love them. And I want them to be strong and get firmly rooted." She patiently showed me where to trim so the main stem would not be affected, but would grow solid in strength by not being weighed down with extra leaves or useless unproductive branches. She called it 'extra baggage'. I learned that term is something we tend to drag along in our lives. In many ways, we can be compared to plants.
I love my plants. I love working and nurturing them. Every year, I am reminded of how right she was. I start my blooms and because they are so refreshing after our long cold winter, I am reluctant to prune them. It is soon evident as some bloom early, but are weak and spindly, or lost in early chilly evenings. The others take a little longer, but soon surpass my expectations and have strong hardy stems and last late into the fall, many stay lovely, long after their season has passed. They thrive because somehow they have the instinct for making each day count. A valuable quality I need to follow, myself.
I often relate to my plants like people. 'Whom the Creator loves, He chastises.' We were corrected as children by our parents or caregivers because they wanted us to grow strong. Later, we tried our best to follow what we had been taught as we raised our own families. The goal is always the same, to be strong enough to weather the many storms in life that come...and they do come.
Recently, my sister Alice, passed away very suddenly. We had no warning as she didn't show any signs of illness, other than being tired. She is the strongest person I have ever known. She had been pruned, cut down, faced so many storms and always came through them stronger than ever. She had open communion all the time with our Creator and she was not afraid to close her eyes and leave this world. It wasn't just talk, she proved it as we held her hand and watched her peacefully leave us. Her faith had been pruned continually. She was ready, which was more than I can say for us, left behind. I prayed with all my heart for a little more time, but her daughter, Iris, reminded me that it was okay. Her mom was ready to go and she was at peace. After, as we still sat there, the presence that filled the room was so amazing, even the nurses just stood in silence and their eyes filled with tears. They couldn't interrupt the power of the love in that room. They very quietly left us.
My sister loved trees and she loved the smell of rain. Trees were a sign of strength and freedom. Rain was the cleansing shower of love from Heaven. She had planted trees for each of her children. She couldn't always see them because of their distant locations, but she watched her trees from her corner window. She loved watching them swaying in the wind and dancing in the rain. To her, they were strong and never broke during the storms. After the sun returned and the raindrops made them glisten, they were her diamonds from the Creator. Her trees grew and became stronger every day, every season. She rarely missed a day of not sitting at the window, year round, with her coffee and looking at them, communing in her own way.
I work out in my gardens, because it makes me feel very close to our mother. I continue to plant her favorites. This is my way of keeping her alive to me, still, after all these years, her and Dad are my wind spirits, guiding me as I plant, trim, prune. Although I am sad all over again, my garden is there to comfort me.
The other day, while it was softly raining, I planted an Amur Maple for my sister. It will turn brilliant red in the fall. As soon as I finished, the sun came out and shone right over it. Her tree was glistening with the Creator's diamonds. It made me smile through the tears. I know she will love it.
I know she is at peace and as it is with our parents, all is well with her soul. She will also be my wind spirit. She was an amazing artist and I will see her everywhere there is color. September was her favorite month.
I am thankful the Creator has never stopped pruning me. I need it every day. I admit I don't usually like it, but if I truly believe and trust in life ever after, then I cannot simply do my own thing because it seems easier. Life isn't rose colored just because we wear tinted glasses, and we have to face tough facts most of the time. The secret is to be strong enough to go through the storm and believe the sun will shine again. There will be a rainbow, that is Creator's promise to us and we will laugh again. We may cry through the rain but we are strong so that we can stand and treasure our memories. 'Tears last for the night, but joy comes in the morning'.
Today is a new day that we have been given and blessed with. That, to me, is the Creator's faithful pruning.