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Masonic News & Views - Pruning the tree
April 14, 2014
Greetings Brother,

Springtime has finally arrived here at the CowChows. Things are budding-out and blooming all over. As this will be our first Spring and Summer season here when we're not totally focused on the remodel of the house the Lady BG has gone into full lawn and garden rescue and recovery mode, which means that after a winter of growing increasingly soft and flabby I'm now rediscovering the joys of yard work every day. Please forgive any typos; I can barely lift my fingers to type.

The CowChows dates from 1936. It's just a simple little cottage that's more than a little bit strange, so it suits the two of us just fine. But, one of the things that originally drew us to the place, other than the strangeness, is that it literally reeks of potential. Unfortunately, it also suffers from years of dwindling and deferred maintenance, which is to say the landscaping is a mess.

One of my jobs today was to prune the dead limbs out of a small evergreen tree just off the front deck. It's the kind of work I enjoy because the tree was obviously struggling, weighted down by the failed growth of its past. To my mind, by pruning away the dead I was freeing it to begin to grow again and to go on to become the beautiful tree it was intended to be.

I wriggled my way in next to the trunk and began carefully pruning and lopping and sawing. As I worked my way higher I noticed that some of the limbs that appeared dead near the trunk in fact had new green growth at the ends, so I began pruning only the dead branches from those limbs. I tried to be careful and to make sure a branch was surely dead before cutting, but too many times and too late I would remove a cut branch from the tangle of branches only to find it carried the new green growth of life.

Of course, it couldn't be helped. I couldn't see the end of every branch from my perspective near the trunk. Some collateral damage was unavoidable. Or was it? Maybe I could've taken more care. Maybe I could've been less eager to remove the dead weight. Maybe I should've taken more time. In my eagerness to remove the hindrances of progress, in my carelessness to see the truth, in my impatience and my fatigue, had I cut short the growth of a branch that would have gone on to do great things for the whole of the tree?

And then, while I stood there in the midst of the carnage I had wrought, I realized how much our relationships are like pruning a tree. In our eagerness to make life easier for someone we can inadvertently hamper their growth. From our perspective within a relationship we can never see or know all there is of the other person. And, time is our soil which we must tend with patience and care, for without it the relationship can never take root, grow and flourish.

Fraternally yours,

Tim Couch

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