Friday, February 25, 2011
Cut Those Hedges Down
Cut Those Hedges Down!
I had hedges outside of my house that were probably planted 50 years ago. When you see them in front of another home, they are deep green, look something like pine, have a smattering of red berries in the winter and are about 2 feet tall. . Unattended, mine had grown to a height of about 7 ½ feet. Our front bay window was almost entirely covered by these hedges turned into dense trees. Every year I would say to myself, “I have got to get those out of there.” They grew more ugly and wild every year but instead of cutting them down; I would try to make them look better. I would actually put a ladder inside the hedges at different points, climb up through the branches with my electric clippers and try to trim these things. My arms would be scratched and inevitably, there were spots I could not reach so these once decorative hedges were now a thicket of small trees that started to look like part of a skyline. Everyone who would walk by or drive by or enter the house would see these ugly things. Of course everyone was polite and never said anything; but I know what they were thinking, “Why don’t they cut those ugly hedges down!”
So you may ask: “Why didn’t you cut them down?” I just pretended they weren’t that bad. I had no clue how to get rid of them. Do I cut? I don’t own a saw. Do I have them pulled out? I don’t have a truck and like many men and perhaps many pilgrims, I would be embarrassed to admit my ignorance and ask for help. I actually convinced myself that the trimming was less work. Ha!
Well after living here ten years I did finally get up the courage to ask for help this past fall. A good brother, who I think secretly sleeps with his chain saw, was ecstatic to wield his electric sword against my demon trees. Within 40 minutes they were gone and all the branches were lined up nicely on the street for pickup. What a relief!
Well before you yawn or click this off, or say “and the point is?” I will tell you why I share this little story and what this pilgrim learned by it. Those wild hedges had covered up the point where a gutter drain had allowed water to flow into the foundation of the house. Now I saw the gaping hole and probable damage to the foundation. Ugh! I had ignored and then finally paid attention to the surface stuff, the cosmetic stuff. I added 10 years to the life of the ugly bushes and took 10 years off of the far more important foundation of my house.
“As in the natural, so in the spiritual.” I am at a time in life when I have been pressured by God and other true friends on the pilgrim road to stop the denial about the ugly things in my life. Look at them for what they are; stop trying to make them pretty, and, CUT THEM DOWN! As I have responded to this charge, I have discovered that letting apparently surface bad habits, sins go wild does affect the very foundation from which we share life with our spouse, family, friends, co workers and fellow pilgrims.
So I find myself in the painful yet beautiful process of allowing God to repair my personal foundation. Sins are confessed. Wounds are being healed. Wrong mindsets are being broken. Lies are being rendered powerless by truth. Freedom and joy increase daily. Just as I did to get rid of the hedges, I have had to ask for help, insight and tools from others. My wonderful mate and precious fellow travelers have all provided help and prayer without judgment, but only love.
If this little allegory strikes a chord in you, in all humility, this pilgrim would encourage you to cut down your hedges. Stop denying that there are things that need to change. Stop trying to make the ugly look pretty (it never does!). Know you can’t do it on your own. The Only Wise One designed it that way. We should deal with life in His loving arms and with those He gives us for the journey. For the one who knows you better than anyone else says “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” He sent His Son who says “I have come that they may have life, life more abundantly”
By the way, I am a guest blogger this week. My name is Dan. I am honored to walk with Lori Ann and Steve on the pilgrim road and humbled that Lori Ann would allow me to share a small piece of my journey. Thanks guys.