Monday, April 2, 2012

Hidden Potential

Forsythias in full bloom
My forsythias were beautiful this year!  I was excited this spring to see them full of little yellow buds, and watched the flowers unfold in all their fiery brilliance.

Budding this spring...

Forsythias only bloom on the previous year’s new growth.  And because our bushes were trained as a hedge in front of our house (long before we moved in), the blooms are usually scanty.  I longed to see their radiance.  They had been healthy, but their glory, their potential was hidden inside.

So last year, we pruned them instead of trimming them.  We cut back a third of the largest branches so that there would be more room down low for new growth, and we didn’t trim the long, scraggly branches that shot up several feet from the top.  My son, who takes pride in his job of mowing our lawn helped me, but he complained about those ugly bushes all summer long.  They made “his” lawn look terrible! 

After pruning and a trim..."They still look ugly!" 
When people would visit, they eyed our hedges with silent disdain or a smirk, and sometimes sympathetically asked if we needed help trimming our bushes.  Indeed, one day a work crew came and almost mistakenly cut the forsythia instead of the gigantic junipers out back!   I saved my precious, beloved bushes just in time, but I did take some advice to slightly trim those scraggly shoots.  We left at least a foot of new growth on top to support the new blooms, but the bushes did benefit from that bit of cosmetic shaping. 

“They still look ugly,” my son would say.  He was right.   But this spring it was worth it to see the fruit of all that waiting.  Next week, however, they will wonder what happened. I plan to cut them down to knee height.   They have been miss-trained for too long to simply prune them, and to get the truly lovely shape as well as the color they were designed for, I have to face facts and cut them back.

Beautiful blooms treasured by a novice gardener
I’m a little intimidated because I’m not a master gardener like our Heavenly Father, who knows when to prune and when to cut us back.  Maybe those around us sometimes think our form is unsightly in the process, and they may even look at us with disdain—but God knows what he’s doing.  He knows the glory, the hidden potential of the Son shining through us.  He sees what we cannot, “providence.”  He sees (video) before (pro), and plans and works accordingly.  He longs to see our beauty, for we are his beloved.  When he cuts us back to the ground, that’s when we can know most though we may feel it least—we are greatly loved and treasured by Father-Son-Spirit who works in us for our good.  I treasure my bushes.  Think how much more the Keeper of your soul treasures you.

1 comment:

Kat said...

This is beautiful, Merry.