We Seek After
These Things
Recently returned from serving the people of Honduras for 3 years

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Our Parable of the Peach Trees

Every year at this time of year the dilemma of how to prune the fruit trees comes upon my husband and I. It's always been my husbands job, not exactly officially, but he's always been the one to haul the ladder out, climb up to the top of the trees with the loppers and prune away. I always have an opinion, but do I climb up to the top of the trees with the loppers? No way! So I just have to be the supportive one and say, "looks lovely dear", "once again, you've done a wonderful job"!

(wild untrimmed tree on left - vs - pruned tree on right)

But frequently I'm really asking myself, "I don't think that's exactly how the trees are SUPPOSED to look". So this year, I took an active role . . . I volunteered the husband to go to a tree pruning workshop in our community at Thanksgiving Point. A wonderfully marvelous garden nearby our home that teaches fantastic gardening classes each Spring. What could be better? Let's just find out how you really ARE supposed to prune those fruit trees!

And to be a supportive wife, I signed myself up to attend the class with him. Mostly, just to have a chance to go do something together, and maybe two heads would actually be better than one.

Oh no! Come the day of the class the husband had a conflict with another important meeting . . . I would have to go to the class by myself or lose the tuition. Bummer! (I don't really WANT to learn how to prune fruit trees - awwwh!) But I went. And it was actually a really good class.

My favorite tidbit of knowledge gleaned was, " you really can't ruin the fruit tree with bad pruning". Oh thank goodness! I was really worried after last year! It wasn't our best year for fruit tree pruning. And I came home with some really helpful information about the suggested way to prune a tree.

So the next week, there I am, out on the ladder, loppers in hand trying to prune the ______ fruit trees! It was harder than I thought! Our trees didn't look anything like the ones in the videos or the handouts. Pretty soon I'm taking out branches here and branches there, trying to follow the guidelines I'd been given. But ouch! It was kind of painful! These were hard decisions. I was tempted to just forget the whole thing . . . I mean what happens if you don't prune at all? I remembered the master gardener saying that it actually protects the tree, and gives the tree the opportunity to produce greater fruit and really reach it's full potential. If you leave ALL the branches on the tree, the tree can become overwhelmed with poor fruit, break apart in places, and maybe in reality lose the WHOLE tree!

(this is my first tree that I pruned - so proud)

While I'm standing on the top of this ladder, my head amidst the branches, I'm starting to see a parallel here . . . this must be how Heavenly Father feels when he sees us overloading our lives down here on earth. Over scheduling each minute of the day. Trying to be involved in so many . . . TOO many good things. He must be whispering, "wait, that's not an important branch there", that one isn't going to do you any good REALLY!", "wait, that branch is going to interfere with the most important branch over there that really provides the strength of your tree!"

Have we received counsel to "prune our branches"? And just like pruning the fruit trees, it CAN be painful! Cutting branches here and cutting branches there, how to decide? Which one do you leave and which one do you take out? And just like the counsel of the master gardener we have received some guidance about which ones to leave and which ones to take.

"We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families."

If you haven't reviewed that talk recently, maybe now would be a good time. I know that's what I'm going to do right now.

After all - I need all the help with pruning I can get. . .

I must admit, my husband did come along after I did three of our seven fruit trees and rescue me. That's why you see a photo of him up in the trees with the loppers. After all, I am the picture taker . . .


susette said...

I am so impressed!! Wow, I would have loved to go with you. Every year I want to learn how to prune our trees but just make the attempts on my own. We finally did lose our apricot tree after about 15 years. Maybe I was doing it wrong. (actually it got some bore) Good for you though to learn and then do.

Carolyn said...

I think this is my favorite post from you!

It really lifted my morning. I may have to use in my next talk in church.

Because I am the Branch President's wife, and half of the branch refuses to speak, I get the opportunity every six months.

It's tough coming up with new material :)

Carla said...

What kind of fruit grows on a '______ fruit tree'? lol
My what a lesson! Thank you for sharing your 'modern day' parable, it applies on so many levels:)

Joy For Your Journey said...

There must be a message particularly for me from Elder Oaks talk. This is the third time in five days I have either read something on it or--as in last Friday, I attended an inservice class where it was used as part of the lesson. I think I am going to have to start doing some pruning! Thanks for the parable. I love it when we are able to find gospel applications to our life. I am going to give this more thought.

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