Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Picking up "Prickly Pears"

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.
 I like to call these porcupine-like balls evidence of creation's curse.   

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.
Sharp quills left to rot can hurt bare, tender feet months later. If I let bitterness, anger, judgmental-ism rot in the yard of my heart, it is bound to wound sensitive souls later.
Coaxing the prickly pods out from entangling grass gave me blisters. Likewise, I can expect some pain when the harmful, needling ways entrenched in my personality are being removed.

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.
As we finished for the day, I looked up.  Many more spiky burrs are still to fall.

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."

1 comment:

  1. Maurie, this is a beautiful post! What a perfect analogy you made with these prickly pears to our own prickly exterior! So true and so well said! Thank you!