In front of our house, equally spaced apart, sit three massive pots. Last year my man planted gorgeous knock-out roses that bloomed all season. Unfortunately, when the weather turned warm again, the dormant bushes stayed brown. After a few weeks of no production, I decided to replace them with something green and beautiful. I perused the options, purchased some affordable perennials and drove home. Thinking the replacement would be an easy and quick fix, I left on my khaki shorts and flipflops. But even though the rosebushes held no leaves or flowers, the thorns were no less viable. I dug and raked and scraped, but the roots would not release. Imagine trying to pull a dead bush out of a pot. You can’t tip the pot: it’s too heavy and contains ivy you want to keep. You can’t grab hold of the stalks because the thorns drive deep into the flesh of your hands. Gloves aren’t sufficient, and newspaper wads are a joke (don’t ask me why I even tried it).
By the time I pulled the fastened root ball free, my shirt was soaked with sweat and blood and mud ran down my hands (yes, I should probably update my tetanus shot now). So much for the uncomplicated transplant.
Through it all, I learned something from the experience. One: don’t buy rose bushes again, Kristin. Two: just because something is dead doesn’t mean it’s lifeless. Even though that rosebush wasn’t producing as it was created to, aspects still possessed the ability to hurt and damage. As my mind spins with metaphors, I couldn’t help but think about our stubborn, human pride. We desire for our lives to reflect the lovely design of the Creator, and may even say “Refine me, Lord.” But when He starts digging at that which is useless and destructive, we sometimes hold fast and scream, “No, not that! Let me keep it.” Why? Why do I want to keep that which damages? Why do I cling to the dead and ugly, when it consumes space that life could occupy? If I want new growth, I have to allow the Lord’s pruning sheers and trowel to enter the scene. Messy work? Sure. Painful? At times. And, for a season, I may feel the vacant hole. But, He won’t leave the gap for long. He has planted seeds of new life; I must patiently wait while they fill in the spaces.