The branches of the rose bush looked like tentacles of two octopuses playing a game of Twister. The gangly stems could not support the slight weight of the pale pink flowers. The ground was a cemetery of dead blossoms. I had been neglectful, and the bush was no longer beautiful. It was a beast!
With a pair of pruners in hand, I approached the eye sore and started snipping the far-reaching limbs. I am no Master Gardener, so I was neither cautious nor careful. I paid dearly for my haste.
As I began to trim, the unruly bush fought back. It snared me in a bear-hug and made me contort in uncomfortable positions like Houdini trying to escape from a straitjacket.
“Ow, ow, ow. Let go, let go. Son of a… This really hurts!”
The arrow-shaped thorns pierced my legs and arms, leaving behind tiny battle scars of blood droplets.
Note to self and others: Never prune a rose bush in shorts and a T-shirt.
“How can something small cause so much pain? Are these things toxic or something?”
The frail evidence of seasons past (dead limbs and blossoms) laid deep in the bush, almost hidden. They mingled among the healthy growth and blocked the sun’s nourishment and flow of fresh air.
I continued nipping, tucking, and tidying the angry beast.
After performing more yoga like maneuvers to remove dead debris, I stepped away from the bush and admired my work.
“Now we’re getting somewhere.”
However, the potentially nastiest and the most painful task still awaited me.
I had to remove the rotting compost from the trunk of the bush. Leaves, sticks, grass, and weeds created a collar of dis-ease around the base. This environment created a safe house for parasitic bugs, mold, and fungus. The beauty was suffocating and struggling for every “breath.”
I knelt to the ground with an occasional fallen thorn inflicting its wrath on my knees and shins. I reached into the belly of the bush and removed a handful of composting material. Then another, and another. The bush could breathe again.
A profound thought struck me as I once again admired my accomplishment from a broad perspective.
I was like the bush!
I let myself go. I have neglected myself for years. I had years of past experiences hiding and mingling in my present life. Emotional debris and garbage choked my core. I struggled to breathe. My limbs were overgrown and tangled. I provided a safe haven for parasitic relationships. My employment environment was a compost heap of dis-ease.
I had the potential to be beautiful, but I did not have the strength to hold my head up high. I did not feel beautiful, desired, admired, or valued. I felt like a beast, who could willingly and unknowingly pierce people with a thorn that could inflict pain for days.
However, I want to feel the warmth from the sun. I want to breathe. I want to dance in the rain. I want to sway in the breeze. So, I have begun the painful process of pruning my life, although I don’t exactly have a green thumb when it comes to taking care of myself.
I am getting dirt under my nails, and I’m cleaning out the clutter and debris. I’m getting rid of all the “dead” that I’ve harbored for too long. I want to be free of dis-ease.
I want to look at myself from a distance…
Who’s with me?
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.