Sunday, April 4, 2010

Deep Roots

No one really believes my apple trees will survive. Yesterday I had to remove all the flowering buds from them in an effort to save them. I have been told that is the only hope there is. By removing these buds I am allowing the trees' resources/energy to be redirected to the roots. I have been told I have transplanted them at the absolutely worst time possible as they were just beginning to bud. In the week since they were transplanted these buds have flowered which gave me false hope (that they were thriving in spite of all the shock) but apparently this activity was sapping necessary resources away from the roots...and I know that without well-established roots a plant can't survive for the long haul.

I cried as I began to clip the flowering buds. It just seemed like more loss on top of so much loss already, and I was just emotionally pissed that I was having to do it...but I didn't want any one else to do it. If it had to be done, I wanted it to be me. Now all this may seem silly over a couple of trees, but it wasn't silly to me at that moment. As I continued to clip and cry, I felt a sense that God understood exactly how I felt, but that this pruning was necessary for the greater good of the trees so it had to be done. It strengthened me somehow, and I was able to continue with new resolve. I had gone in to get my mp3 player so I could listen to music as I worked, and a few minutes after my new resolve kicked in there was a conversation (of course, when you want music on the radio it is nowhere to be found) going on about how even when we are acutely aware of the great suffering in the world, it is still so easy for us to slip into ungratefulness for what we have. That was not exactly how the radio personalities said it, but that was how I understood it. How quickly I choose to focus on what's missing at the expense of appreciating all that is there.

How many of us as parents have actually encouraged this attitude in our children by failing to prune the flowers because we think it will be too painful for us? We have allowed the buds to flower at the expense of deep roots...and we all know they will desperately need those deep roots as they grow into adulthood. Deep roots are essential in order to thrive (not just survive) spiritually, physically and emotionally. As Scott Peck says in the first line of his book, The Road Less Traveled, "Life is difficult." God has gifted us with the privilege (yet serious responsibility) of helping to grow these deep roots in our children, and it has been my experience that apart from Him this is not possible.

I don't feel I have quite fleshed this out like I would like too, but it is time to post it and get going. I am sure I will continue to think about this in the days to come. I said at the beginning that "no one really believes my apple trees will survive." That is not completely true. I do--or at least some part of me does. Only time will tell.


  1. Thank you for sharing this post. I'm going through a difficult time with my 20-year-old son. It's difficult for him too - this period of transitioning into manhood, finding himself and who he really is. I dedicated him to God at a very young age, he later made a profession of faith but now seems so far from God. I appreciate your faith and honesty that sometimes you struggle. That's real and God honors that. I am from D'burg. I know what happened to your family but I don't know you personally. I have prayed for you and will continue to do so.

  2. A couple weeks back I had to prune my crepe myrtles and I really did not want to. I came up with tons of excuses...taking away birds nesting spots, too much work, etc. As I was clipping the branches away, I sensed the presence of God saying this is what I am doing with you...I am pruning you...yes, it is hard work but if I don't do it, you won't bloom and grow. I know what I am me. They sure looked bare when I was done but this weekend I noticed new growth...a promise coming true. Hang onto your faith.

  3. i do believe in your apple trees! i do! i do!

  4. Nice! Exactly the kind of stuff I needed to talk with you about this week! Thank you God for giving Susan such wisdom and the ability to share it with the rest of us!

    Love Ya!

  5. Thanks for all the comments. I am humbled by your words and thankful for your encouragement.

  6. I LOVE your comparison of your trees (pruning, developing roots) to children. I'm always up for a good metaphor! Keep thinking those positive thoughts, Susan. Every time you post, you're helping yourself and others at the same time. How many of us do that on a daily basis?