Last spring I moved into a cute little bungalow that had a huge, beautiful garden. The garden had great structure: trees and bushes and shrubs, with a few flowering plants. It also had a pond and fountain and a birdbath. Not knowing what exactly was in the garden I spent this first season watching what came up, what didn’t, and began to make plans about adding and moving plants. Now it is late in the fall and it is time to put the garden to bed. It turns out that some of the trees and bushes and plants initially looked good but as the gardening season went on, it became clear to me that they didn’t look as good as I thought. In the past week I have cut down two trees, taken out three bushes, and today, I cut a huge rose bush almost down to the ground. That’s what this picture is about – for this entire season the branches of this bush have been spread out over the fence – blooms and hips have covered the branches. But when I got closer and began trimming the bush, I found there was a lot of dead stuff. When you find dead stuff on plants and bushes you must prune down to the living stem to make sure that the dead stuff doesn’t take over and kill the living.

As you can see, pruning the rose bush leaves it looking as though there is nothing there. There is some green which looks promising, but I won’t know until next spring if there is enough live stuff to grow and get big again over the next growing seasons. Pruning is hard – it is traumatic – it leaves the bush vulnerable. And pruning is necessary in order to keep life in a plant and a bush anda tree.

Pruning, of course, is not only for plants and trees and bushes. It seems that it is also for humans. I am experiencing a time of pruning in my own life – it is hard and has traumatic moments, I most certainly do feel vulnerable. I understand that pruning is necessary to life – but the process is so very painful. Just in the past few weeks I’ve been misunderstood, my livelihood has been threatened, and I’ve been taken advantage of. This is so unexpected – and hard to understand. There’s more to the story, but I’ll not tell it here. It is enough to say that I feel battered and bruised, My soul and spirit have been deeply shaken. I don’t know what will come of this time of pruning – time will tell, the spring will come and I’ll look and see what life is left. I intend on rising strong (a nod to Brene Brown) but – right now – my branches look as unprotected as my rose bush.

I know I’m not alone in my pruning time – this is part of life, part of growing, part of living in good and bad times. I know others – in fact someone close to me is also being pruned these days – are going through painful times or have gone through painful times. I am hopeful that there is hope. Experience tells me the spring does come and with it comes growth and possibilities and new things and people that make life beautiful and rich. But for now – winter is coming.