The sun rises over the horizon once again, bringing the world into the focus of daylight. My walking companion Micha and I begin our morning with a briskly paced walk. The debris of last months strait line wind and rain storm lingers along our path. The leaves from the countless fallen limbs have long become brown and brittle. The large limbs that have fallen and the many trees that were uprooted have been systematically cut into smaller, more manageable sizes, revealing the rings of their age.
Each step of our walking rout holds vivid reminders of the sudden summer storm that ravaged the vegetation of our city. Rooftops covered in patchwork of blue and black protected the wounds created by fallen trees. This vivid reminder that the debris must be removed in order for the landscape of our city to be restored to its lush green luster.
The loss of one man’s life is mourned and the physical wounds must be healed to make room for anything new to grow and emerge. I take this vision into my heart and ponder the depth of its meaning in my own life.
Returning home, I continue my morning chores of yard work while Micah naps comfortably on his bed in the coolness of our air-conditioned home. I pull weeds, trim where needed, and survey the results of this year’s planting. One is thriving and blooming with beautiful flowers. One is struggling, yet it shows signs of life and hope for survival. The final one stands upright, yet its leaves are crumbling from their stems. I gently and oh so carefully begin to prune away that which appears to be dead. Much to my amazement, as I get closer to the ground, there are fresh new and very much alive bright green leaves. Although they are in their infant stages, they are so numerous that I cannot help but feel excitement for the certainty of life that is bursting through the ground. I am filled with delight!
The deep lessons are not lost on me. The images of this morning are far too formidable to be put aside or ignored. Pruning and trimming the lifeless remnants that sometimes linger in our life is important to allow us to see and welcome new life and vitality. The wounds we experience may be covered just like the damaged rooftops. They may be healed with time and understanding wrapped in great compassion for the process of garnering their significance and meaning.
New growth may sprout from us as we prune and move away all that is no longer helpful to our spiritual journey. Just as the parable of the wheat and the chaff tells us in Matthew chapter 13, “The wheat and the chaff grow together yet, at the time of harvest they are separated”. We too separate what is useful from what is not useful.