Friday, 7 March 2014

Lenten Garden

Sadly, I wasn't thinking ahead enough to take a
"before" picture, but here is "after".

Yesterday was my day off. It feels a bit odd to have a day off this week as I only have another few days left in the parish, with my final service being on Sunday. After walking the puppy, I took it into my head to do a job that had been annoying me for too long, and I cleared and cut back some climbing plants (botanical skills are zero I'm afraid so I have no idea what they are - only that there is - was -  far too much of them)
About 20 minutes in, I was regretting ever lifting up a pair of shears, but I battled on, and eventually the plants were well and truly pruned. Now I confess, I don't know that they'll definitely recover but I do know that I undertook the same exercise two years ago, and having to repeat it is ample testament to the vigorous nature of the plants. They were so vigorous in fact that they were preventing other things from growing - and so my spring bulbs, of which I am excessively fond, were shaded out and covered up, and as a result will not be the display I was hoping for when they were planted.

This is some of the material cut away.
Cutting away lots of plant material the morning after our Ash Wednesday service gave me plenty of time to think about the spiritual pruning that is traditionally called for during Lent. A time to deliberately and intentionally spend time with God and seek spiritual disciplines to cut away from our lives whatever may be unhelpful and preventing other beautiful things from growing.

 Lent will be odd for me this year as I find myself between posts. There will be time, I hope, as we prepare to move house and I prepare to take up a new post in a completely different context, to engage with some pruning of unnecessary things so that other things will grow. Disengaging from my curacy post has felt quite a lot like pruning, and it has not been a painless exercise. I am aware there is yet more to do, perhaps as the administrative and organisational functions which have taken up so much time of late are handed on, I can re-engage with other spiritual ones, recollect and redefine my identity as priest and child of God. I hope I can end Lent as ready for the resurrection as my garden is for new spring growth.
And remember that I will certainly have to repeat the process again next year.

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