November is an interesting time of year. No, really it is. Between changing the clocks (one more hour of sleep- hooray!!), the splendor of fall diminishing into dismal brown everywhere, and temperatures varying from summer time to winter time in 24 hours, November is a month of change.
Late fall is also the time to squeeze in the annual landscape trimming and pruning projects before the snow flies. Having a new house and new landscaping right alongside a young, growing family, there are several willow shrubs that had never been pruned in our yard. As I set about to prune these now fully and wildly overgrown bushes that extended to about 12 feet around in all directions, I realized the problem that results from the lack of attention given to these plants over the past 3 years. As I pruned the outer 2-3 feet of branches, I realized I had just cut off all of the growth. Underneath were just empty, brown branches devoid of leaves and life. Perhaps, I thought, my pruning is coming a bit too late (you think?!). I probably should have attended to the shrubs, pruning out heavy areas of growth, and taking a bit off the ends every year. That way, I could have effectively managed the growth of the plant and maximized the look, shape, thickness, and fullness without being left with shrubs full of empty and lifeless branches.
This really got me thinking. What else have I been neglecting to prune in my life? Are there old clothes I could “prune” from my closet that are no longer worn and just taking up space, making it harder to find the clothes I do wear? Are there files of papers in my filing drawers that are no longer needed? Coupons expired in the over-flowing coupon box? Toys taking up space that were intended for children much younger than ours?
Looking further, are there relationships I should be attending to with a little nip and tuck here, little issues left unsaid and unattended to, that if taken just a little bit of time, care, and concern to address would result in a stronger and better relationship through the years? Are there times we take the easy way in life, with our own nagging habits, unhealthy diets, lack of sleep, and even when spending time with our kids, disciplining our kids, or teaching our kids valuable life lessons. As a result, are there inches of wild overgrowth and dead branches resulting in a overall life that is not quite as rich and as beautiful as it could be?
All it takes is a little bit of time and attention (just one hour per year) to keep my willow shrubs in check. Am I sacrificing a few hours here and there that I should be giving to the small things in life that could make every day better, or more like I want it to be because I’m too busy to address the little things? If I took the time to address the little things that I can change, could I make a huge improvement in my daily life? After all, it only took an hour to tame the willows in my backyard.
So many thoughts to keep my mind as busy as my hands as I work outside to prepare for the winter ahead. Take some time this month to consider the little things that influence our life. Are they negative? If so, can they be “pruned” out to create something that much more beautiful? As we approach Thanksgiving time later this month, take the time to take in the big picture of your life, your family, and your home from the outside in, and fully appreciate the blessings God has given you. Do something about the little, insignificant annoyances of life, change what you can, and refuse to allow the things you cannot change to color your attitude and daily perspective of life a dismal color of discontent. Whether in our own hearts or hidden within the spirit of our families, let’s take some time to prune out the ugliness to allow the sun to shine in and encourage growth in ourselves and in those around us.
MotionWorks Physical Therapy