This afternoon, my husband and I spent a couple of hours raking and bagging spiky chestnut shells. We filled eight bags of the needle-sharp, quill-spiked burrs.
As I raked, I thought of several life-lessons these spiky devils teach.
Just as the shady lawn beneath a beautiful tree is impossible to traverse unless the prickly burrs are removed, so a full life can be over-shadowed by cutting attitudes unless they are swept up and cast out.
Encased in a barnacled outer-shell is food for squirrels, but the nut must be removed from the needles before it is edible. If I want my life to nourish those around me, I must remove my prickly exterior.
The chestnut "porcupines" only drop one at a time, but in a few short weeks they produce a harvest of treacherous, harmful remains. A hurtful word here, an unkind reaction there...and before I know it I will have left a trail of broken relationships.
A single clean-up session will not be sufficient to rid the area of the needle-pods. Similarly, hurtful habits aren't broken overnight; rather positive patterns require many repetitions before they become habitual.
Such pondering led me to ask myself, "What prickles do I need to rake up in my life's yard? Am I willing to do the work to clear my personality of hurtful needles?"
It reminds me of these verses in Colossians 3:8-10: "But now you must rid yourselves of...anger, rage, malice, slander, and any filthy language...since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is...in the image of its Creator."