Skip to main content

Cutting me down to size

Dear husband does bonsai - those little Japanese trees.  When people unfamiliar with the art see one of his trees for the first time, they have two questions:  "Is that real?" and "Do they just grow like that?" 

Yes, and most definitely no.

You can make just about any tree into a bonsai tree, although some trees are much easier to work with than others.  We joke that the art of bonsai is buying a $200 tree, lopping off $175 worth and then selling it for $400.  It does take time, practice, patience and a lot of effort.  You trim the tree and let it rest, trim it and let it rest.  It's a rush of anxious activity and then dormancy.  It's a very real tree, with a lot "done to it".

In essence, you must harm the tree.  You have to cut off branches and roots, make the tree grow in a way that is unnatural and that the tree is not necessarily willing to go.  This is exactly what God does with us.  He trims us and prunes  us, makes us stretch and grow in ways we never wanted to or thought we could, lets us rest and pushes us towards our ideal selves.  We could never do this ourselves - we don't have the perspective to stand back and see where we need the most work, and where we need to be left alone.  Only our Creator sees us this way.

In the Catholic Church, when we see someone who has lived his or her life in the most beautiful and authentic way, we call them "saints".  These are the people who have stretched and grown, been patient with the trimming and pruning God did, and allowed themselves to be created day-after-day.  If we ask, "Is that person real?", the answer is "yes":  he or she is human, with sins and sorrows.  And just like with bonsai, if we ask,  "Did they grow like that?", the answer is "no" - it took time, patience and effort, and the Master hand of God.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.

It's…

Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…