Each time I prune my few potted plants, I always think they may wilt and die because of limited space and soil. Yet, each time they seem to grow even faster than I could imagine.
New life. New growth. After pruning, my plants start sprouting. They indeed continue to grow.
It’s the same with us. We need pruning in our journey to self-growth.
We need to shed leaves of our old selves, cut off the branches of our failures and shortcomings, and unchain the weakest links in our lives.
What are those weakest links, you might ask. Well, these are our inordinate attachments, our obsessions to things or people that limit or destroy our capacity to grow and become our authentic selves.
Pruning ourselves propels us to grow into the better persons we can ever yet become. It drives us towards our goals, as we go on improving ourselves and helping others grow as well.
Our limited circumstances or resources are not hindrances to our goal of growing ourselves. All it takes is a growth mindset ready to overcome any obstacles or limitations. It needs sheer willpower, decisive action, and a bit of creativity too.
Pruning in the time of the Pandemic
In this time of the pandemic and lockdowns, perhaps you have done some pruning in your lives, just like the rest of us. In fact, one good effect of having to stay at home and keeping safe from COVID-19 is many people have been forced to give up their favorite leisure activities, such as window shopping, going to movie theaters, and eating out. And as money have become tight due to the effect of the crisis on the economy, people have become more budget-conscious and wiser in spending money.
To relieve boredom or the so-called cabin fever, many have tried coping with the restrictions creatively. Cooking, baking, urban gardening, yoga exercises with the family, attending online daily Masses and other religious events – are some of the activities many of us have taken up these past few months.
Others have also become more entrepreneurial by putting up small home businesses delivering essential goods to our homes.
Re-learning basic home skills and learning new ones – because we need to be more practical — that ‘s what most of us are busy with nowadays.
Families have bonded more strongly. Doing things together as a family has become the norm — especially eating meals together. Even those who live apart from one another have come to get in touch more often through family video chats using Zoom, Skype Chat and Facebook Messenger, to name a few.
At the same time, caring for those in need, including front-liners, extending help in any way is a common sight to behold. We have learned what is most essential in life, and who matters most in our lives.
Even the environment has benefited from the months-long lockdown and curfews, giving us cleaner air and clearer views of the horizon.
These are only some of the good many of us have experienced during the recent months. So while the pandemic has caught us all by surprise and changed life as we knew it then, it has given us time to look deeper into ourselves, prune away bad habits, cultivate good ones, and plant seeds of hope and love for a better humanity. Shedding our old selves to grow into our better, more authentic selves — may this be ‘new normal’ even long past this pandemic.
For us Christians, let us ponder more deeply this idea of pruning with these words from John 15: 1-6.
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more.
3 You are clean already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you.
4 Remain in me, as I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.
6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a branch — and withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire and are burnt.