Home > Life, Really? > Pruning the Thorny Branches

Pruning the Thorny Branches

Someone came up to me recently and violently hacked off one of my limbs — just like that!

With the panic of one who had been attacked without provocation, I fought back with my other limbs — kicking, biting, punching!

But my balance was off. Smack! went another limb. Kabam! went another….

Soon I was lying in a quivering heap, limbs scattered, bleeding from every wound.

I had received an emotional pruning….

I thought about this scene again as I have so many times over the past month as I hacked away at my frost-bitten thorny bouganvillea this morning. The tears held back by the shock of my own pruning finally bursted out of my head as I smacked away at limb after damaged limb. Still, I kept going even as the branches began to reveal the tell-tale signs of life. I was determined to give it a fresh start whether it wanted one or not.

A month after being referred to as caustic and hurtful, I stand frost-bitten. My charred branches still try to reach out and grab but they are pathetic. Their stems are rubbery and only bend when they do catch hold of an unsuspecting victim. I am the withered bougie that kept trying to reach out away from its wicked trunk to take in sunlight and new opportunity, but even as I climbed, my branches grew new thorns. I tried in vain to trim back the tendrils on my own, only to wind up chopping off the beautiful blossoms that are my crowning glory.

Then along came someone with a nasty set of loppers and cut me back to the ground. I am naked, exposed, thornless — humbled, I guess, is the right word. Had I any branches left, I’d raise them like a busted criminal in shamed surrender. Yet, just like a bad guy finally caught in the act, I feel a sense of relief, a chance to start over again….

But even relieved of my thorny branches, who is to say that I won’t come back exactly as I was? Is a thorny plant, despite its ostensible beauty, not always a thorny plant?

Perhaps. But maybe it’s about pruning more carefully. The bouganvillea, when left to its own nature, will grow and spread and take over. Yet with careful trimming, it is lush and vibrant, despite its propensity to grow long and dangerous thorns underneath its blossoms.

Maybe this comeuppance was not unlike my attack on the overgrown landscaping. Maybe I had too long neglected the overreach of the spikes that poke out and prick unsuspecting passersby.

I want to be lush and beautiful, not thorny and caustic, but sometimes I must rely on others to trim my branches in order to keep me in shape. It’s never a pleasant experience — but it’s a necessary one for the overall health of the whole.

Categories: Life, Really?
  1. Mama Nance
    January 4, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    I love you with or without a haircut…and that’s all I have to say about that. 🙂

  2. Tina
    January 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Ditto Mama Nance! And from my view, you are lush and beautiful with a splash of snark and I like you that way very much. Peace and love to you Ellen!

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